Originally due to arrive in China in time for the country’s 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 787 even missed the 2012 London Olympics. Once the aircraft were finally ready in 2012, Chinese certification lagged and then the 787’s battery-induced grounding put a further hold on delivery. But now in sight is an end to the saga and start of commercial service of the 787 in China.
Three operators hold 35 orders: China Southern for 10 787-8s, Hainan Airlines for 10 787-8s as well and Air China for 15 787-9s. Xiamen Airlines has a pending order for six 787-8s. China Southern is due to be the first carrier to take delivery and Hainan the second, but Hainan was first to announce deployment plans, which include domestic services and long-haul flights to Chicago, Seattle and Toronto.
But, as a less privileged, private airline, Hainan Airlines could be constrained by its own government on which routes it can use the full 787 fleet, as the airline faces route restrictions out of Beijing, its main long-haul base – as China Southern painfully experienced when it sought to fly from the capital with its A380.
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