SINGAPORE Aug 23 Chinese carrier Xiamen
Airlines has finalised a long-awaited deal for six Boeing 787
aircraft worth $1.27 billion at list prices, allowing it to
begin long-haul services to the United States and Europe in
The airline's parent, China Southern Airlines Co Ltd
, said in May 2011 that it had signed a letter of
agreement for the six aircraft, but the deal was held up pending
approval from the Chinese government. That came this week,
according to sources familiar with the deal.
"We've confirmed the order. The first jet will be delivered
on July 25 next year," said Xiamen Airlines spokeswoman Shen
Zikun. Boeing Co declined to comment.
Xiamen, which is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, is one of
only a handful of all-Boeing aircraft operators. It flies its
Boeing 737s and 757s on domestic routes and regional services to
Northeast and Southeast Asia.
It plans to use the 787s to launch long-haul services from
its home in Xiamen in the southeastern Fujian province which is
one of China's fastest growing economic zones. It has not yet
confirmed the U.S. and European destinations it will serve.
Most flights from China to Europe and the United States go
through one of the three main hubs of Beijing, Shanghai and
Guangzhou, and passengers normally get connecting flights from
there to their final destinations.
The country's big four carriers - Air China Ltd,
China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd, China Southern and
Hainan Airlines Co Ltd - dominate these long-haul
But airport congestion and increasing demand for
point-to-point connections mean that these airlines and their
subsidiaries are looking at other cities to serve as ports of
entry into China.
This makes China a highly lucrative market for larger
twin-aisle passenger aircraft like the Boeing 777 and 787 and
the Airbus A330 and A350, that can cover the long
distances, according to officials from both aircraft makers.