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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After years of delays and hiccups, Boeing (BA) - Get Free Report has finally delivered its first 787 Dreamliner jetliner.

The long-awaited aircraft, which has been lauded for its unique features and standout fuel efficiency, touched down in Japan early Wednesday, met by hundreds of fans. According to a report from


, All Nippon Airways has inked a deal to receive 55 Dreamliner jetliners by early 2018. ANA is expected to put the Dreamliner into service in late October.

There are a number of ETFs available that provide investors with exposure to the manufacturers and service providers that are dedicated to helping consumers take to the skies.

For example, investors can use a fund like the

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund

(ITA) - Get Free Report

to target a combination of big name aircraft manufacturers and parts suppliers. Top holdings underlying ITA include Boeing,

United Technologies

(UTX) - Get Free Report


Precision Castparts



Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Free Report


It is also possible to gain exposure to popular airlines. The

Guggenheim Airline ETF


is headlined by firms including


(DAL) - Get Free Report


United Continental

(UAL) - Get Free Report


Southwest Airlines

(LUV) - Get Free Report

. Aside from these U.S.-based goliaths FAA also taps into the global airline industry. ANA,

Singapore Airlines


and Deutsche Lufthansa can also be found among its top 10 positions.

Of these two categories of funds, conservative investors would be best off sticking to the former. Although it has run into its fair share of headwinds as global economic turmoil weighs on investor confidence, ITA has managed to outperform broader-based industrial ETFs like the

Industrial Select Sector SPDR

(XLI) - Get Free Report

over the most recent three-month period.

FAA, on the other hand, has been unable to find footing, dramatically underperforming broad market indices. Year to date, the fund has tumbled nearly 30%. The skies do not look clear for the industry looking ahead, either. Issues including rising fuel prices and economic turmoil could make 2012 a rough year for these firms as well.

Aside from their paltry performance in 2011 and the gloomy outlook for the months ahead, airline ETFs are inherently volatile and have also struggled to gather investor interest; FAA's average daily trading volume currently sit just slightly above 11,000.

The limited investor interest surrounding airline ETFs has recently led one fund sponsor to shutter a product. Citing declining interest in their fund, during the middle of last week, Direxion announced that it was closing down its

Direxion Airline Shares ETF


after less than a year of trading. FLYX was the firm's first venture into the realm of non-leveraged and non-inverse ETF products but failed to generate interest. As of Sept. 27, the fund had less than $3 million in assets.

FLYX's liquidation process is scheduled to take place between Oct. 10 and 17.

News that Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is at last being delivered could help to provide the aerospace and airline industries with some lift in the near term. While both will likely be exciting to watch, I encourage investors to do their homework before taking any action. Aerospace will be the better bet here.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.


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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any equities mentioned.