Update on August 18, 2015: All Nippon Airways is adding two more Star Wars-themed liveries to its campaign with Disney. A Boeing 777-300, dubbed BB-8 ANA Jet and operating on international routes, will sport a livery featuring the new droid character, BB-8, in the upcoming film. The second plane, a Boeing 767-300 that operates on domestic Japanese routes, will feature both BB-8 and R2-D2 – one on each side of the plane.
ANA also announced route details. On October 18, the 787 R2-D2 jet, unveiled earlier, will fly between Tokyo and Vancouver, and then cities around the world, including San Jose, California and Seattle in the U.S. The special edition 767-300 will take off in November, while the BB-8 777-300 jet will fly between Japan and North America in March 2016.
Original report: No, it’s not the Millennium Falcon, Star Destroyer, or even Jabba’s barge, but All Nippon Airways’ latest livery will have Star Wars fans booking a flight to Tokyo. As a promotional campaign with Disney, the Japanese airline is painting a Boeing 787 aircraft to resemble R2-D2, the lovable droid from the films.
In conjunction with Star Wars Celebration event news, on April 16 in Anaheim, California, and ahead of the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the R2-D2 jet – a 787-9, also known as the Dreamliner – will fly on international routes, starting in the fall, ANA says. The “Star Wars Project” is a five-year campaign that will take the plane into 2020, when Star Wars IX – the final in this new trilogy – is released. Although ANA says this is the first Star Wars-theme airplane, it’s not the first time ANA has painted its plane with a promotional livery; the airline operates a number of Pokemon-themed planes.
ANA has a website dedicated to the R2-D2 jet, as well as a campaign website, titled “ANA Planet” – complete with audio and visual elements. As of now, there’s limited info until June 12, when ANA launches its Tokyo-to-Houston service. ANA is the 787’s launch customer, as well as the aircraft’s largest operator. The 787 is considered to be Boeing’s most high-tech aircraft to date.
(This article was originally published on April 16, 2015.)