Xiamen Airlines has joined a growing list of carriers planning to fly the Boeing 787 to Australia.
The Chinese airline has received the first of six 787-8s on order due for delivery between now and September 2015. While the airline plans to use the aircraft on domestic routes initially, they will eventually be deployed to international destinations, Xiamen president and chairman Che Shanglun said in a statement.
The statement from Boeing and Xiamen said the 787-8 would be used on long-haul routes from its Fujian province base to Europe, North America and Australia.
“The 787 Dreamliner will be key to our further growth and international expansion,” Che said.
Currently, Australian airports see 787 services from Qantas-owned low-cost carrier Jetstar, as well as Air New Zealand, Air India and Royal Brunei Airlines.
New airlines that have loaded 787 operations to Australia in the global distribution systems include Thai Airways on Bangkok-Perth from September 20, United on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route from October 26 and Etihad Airways on Abu Dhabi-Brisbane from June 1 2015.
Moreover, airlines such as the Singapore Airlines-owned Scoot that currently fly to Australia will be replacing its existing fleet with 787 aircraft starting in late 2014.
Xiamen is the third Chinese airline to receive the 787, following China Southern and Hainan Airlines.
According to current schedules, Xiamen’s first flight with the 787 will be on September 6, when the Dreamliner will fly as MF8107 from the airline’s Fuzhou hub to Beijing. The 787 will over the following days then operate to Xiamen and Beijing.
Boeing said its commercial aviation services arm was providing support services for the 787 such as flight training, Airplane Health Management, electronic charts and navigation data.
The 787 is its the first widebody aircraft in Xiamen’s history. The 30-year-old carrier, which is 51 per cent owned by China Southern Airlines, has up to this point only operated Boeing 737 and 757 narrowbodies.