Xiamen Airlines gets milestone 100th Boeing

Updated: 2013-11-13 09:26

By DENG YU in Seattle (China Daily USA)

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 Video by Deng Yu and click here to watch this video on YouTube

Boeing and Xiamen Airlines today in Seattle celebrated the 100th airplane to join China's only all-Boeing carrier.

The newly delivered Boeing 737-800 has the number "100" painted on its front door and fuselage. The number "100" is composed of musical staffs and notes, in sync with a wavy pattern on the fuselage evoking the melody of the well known song "The Waves of Gulangyu", which embodies Xiamen Airlines' unique local characteristics. Moreover, the "100" on the front door is painted with the pattern of Xiamen's city flower — bougainvillea — which symbolizes the airline's spirit of undaunted perseverance and enduring creativity, a press release said.

Formed in 1984 as China's first joint venture between the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and a municipal government, Xiamen Airlines started service in 1985 with two Boeing 737-200s serving three cities. The carrier has grown into China's sixth largest carrier plying 218 domestic and 26 regional and international routes. With today's delivery, Xiamen Airlines' fleet now consists of 17 737-700s, 77 737-800s and six 757-200s.

"Having an all-Boeing fleet is a key component in our growth strategy and our ability to achieve 26 consecutive years of profitability," said Che Shanglun, president and chairman of Xiamen Airlines. "With excellent reliability, operational efficiency and range, the Boeing airplanes enable us to expand our network internationally."

As part of Xiamen Airlines' 12th five-year plan ending 2015, the carrier plans to grow its operational fleet to 136 airplanes, including the introduction of a 787 Dreamliner in 2014. Che told China Daily Xiamen Airlines is gearing up for an inaugural long-haul expansion in North American by connecting China with important hubs such as Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.

"Xiamen Airlines is a valued customer of the Boeing Company and we are delighted to see the remarkable growth of Xiamen Airlines over the past 29 years," said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing's senior vice-president of Sales for Northeast Asia. "We look forward to continuing such a longstanding partnership by providing more value with our industry-leading products and services."

Xiamen Airlines' rapid growth is a testament to the tremendous development of China's airline industry. According to data released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, in 1972, China established the government-run CAAC as the only player in aviation, and at that time, the number of registered aircraft was nine. By the end of 2012, China had more than 40 airlines and the civil aviation industry as a whole had some 2,000 airplanes registered. Earlier this spring, Boeing celebrated its 1,000th delivery to China.

Boeing projects investments of nearly $800 billion in China for 5,580 new commercial airplanes to be delivered over the next 20 years, which would account for 16 percent of global demand, and reflects a pace of nearly 200 single-aisle and over 60 wide-body airplanes delivered on average each year.

Contact the writer at lindadeng@chinadailyusa.com

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