Better late than never. Boeing (NYSE: BA ) has unveiled the first 787 Dreamliner for delivery next month to Japanese airline All Nippon Airways.
Wait a second … this sounds familiar, right? That’s probably because the Dreamliner also had a “debut” back in 2007. Well, after years of delays, it seems the 787 may no longer be the unicorn of aviation.
As soon as the Dreamliner starts hitting the skies, Boeing can begin to work through its backlog of 827 orders for the aircraft, 55 of which are going to ANA. Let’s hope investors are rewarded for their patience, as some airliners may be losing theirs.
Ideally, Boeing has learned throughout the process and can teach its old dogs new tricks. Discount airline Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV ) , which has had a long-standing relationship with Boeing, is particularly eager to get its hands on some re-engineered and re-engined 737s. For example, the 787 is made primarily of carbon fiber composite material instead of aluminum, which is more environmentally friendly and should be more fuel-efficient.
The Dreamliner is already selling like hotcakes, and it hasn’t even been fully released yet. The list of customers awaiting delivery include Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL ) for 18 aircraft and United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL ) for 25. Earlier in the year, Delta was reportedly considering a potentially large jet order to replace up to 200 of its aircraft. Even winning a fraction of an order of that size would be a big boost for Boeing. United made a big order a few years ago, so it's unlikely to make another order of this magnitude soon.
I think the Dreamliner will prove to be worth the wait. The past several years for Boeing shareholders must have been grueling, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. As Boeing begins filling orders for the 787, it will be clear skies ahead.