Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliner took its first commercial flight Wednesday, departing on a route operated by All Nippon Airways Co (ANA) from Tokyo to Hong Kong.

The 56.7-metre, twin-engine jet with a capacity of 260 passengers took off from Narita International Airport as a chartered flight.

Boeing sees the Dreamliner with its carbon-composite fuselage, larger windows and low-noise, fuel-efficient engines as the backbone of its airplane programmes for the next three decades. The 787 is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than conventional models.

Wednesday’s flight came after delivery was delayed by more than three years because of Boeing’s struggles with the plane’s new carbon-fibre materials and problems with subcontractors.

The U.S. aviation giant has orders for more than 820 of the planes from airlines around the world, including 55 from ANA. Japan’s largest domestic airline has taken delivery of two of the aircraft since late September. Boeing was expected to deliver the remainder by March 2018.

ANA is to put the 787 into regular scheduled service on domestic routes as well as on flights to Beijing and Frankfurt.

The departure of the Dreamliner attracted wide media attention in Japan because 35 per cent of the aircraft is built by Japanese companies.