At first, it seems odd that Boeing’s first 787 Dreamliner test plane is the main attraction inside an exhibition center that opened this month at the airport in Nagoya, Japan. It may seem even odder that all the retail and dining venues in the hall have a theme … from Seattle.
But it makes sense when you consider that Nagoya-area aerospace manufacturers build 35 percent of the parts for each 787 aircraft — including wings and fuselage sections that are ferried from the Nagoya airport to Boeing assembly plants in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle, and North Charleston, South Carolina. The oversized 747 cargo planes carrying them are dubbed “Dreamlifters.”
In 2015, Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport received the first 787 Dreamliner test plane (known as the ZA001) as a gift from Boeing. The airport built the newly opened, multistory “Flight of Dreams” aviation attraction and commercial complex around it.
“Japan is one of the most important and special overseas visitor markets for Seattle, and this permanent exhibition provides a unique opportunity to highlight our destination to millions of potential Japanese visitors,” said Tom Norwalk, president & CEO of Visit Seattle. “An opportunity of this magnitude rarely becomes available, let alone in a key visitor market.”
Visitors pay admission (about $11 for adults; $7 for kids) to gain to admission to the “Flight Park” on the first floor, where the ZA001 is the center of a variety of interactive and hands-on aviation-related activities.
The second- and third-floor “Seattle Terrace” looks out over the historic airplane. It’s lined with well-known Seattle businesses and retailers, including Starbucks, Fran’s Chocolates, Beechers Handmade Cheese and Pike Brewing.
CNBC recently got a look at what visitors will find at Nagoya’s airport’s Flight of Dreams.