Boeing [NYSE: BA] and China Eastern Airlines April 28 finalized an order for 15 787-9 Dreamliners. The order, valued at nearly $4 billion at current list prices, strengthens China Eastern’s expanding long-haul fleet.
“We are very happy to introduce the new 787 Dreamliners into our long-haul fleet,” said China Eastern Airlines Chairman Liu Shaoyong. “The addition of these next-generation, fuel-efficient airplanes will play a key role in supporting China Eastern’s strategy for international expansion, and enable us to realize profits in point-to-point routes across the Pacific Ocean, and between China and Europe.”
China Eastern plans to operate the new 787-9s on routes between China, North America and Europe, bolstering its competitiveness in the international long-haul market.
With growing air traffic demand, the carrier plans to increase frequencies on existing routes from Shanghai to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Toronto, as well as their newly launched destination, Chicago. The routes are currently operated by the airline’s flagship 777-300ER airplane.
“China Eastern has been a long-standing Boeing customer and we are honored that the passenger-preferred 787 Dreamliner will join their world-class fleet,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Northeast Asia Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The combination of both the 777-300ER and 787-9 will provide the airline with market-leading economics as well as flexibility that will contribute significantly to their success operating long-haul flights to North America.”
The 787 family has proven to be an unmatched market opener, with more than 100 new nonstop routes already in service or announced, as well as an effective tool to increase frequency profitably, often in conjunction with the 777.
For China Eastern, operating both the 777 and 787 will allow the airline to continue growing its international presence with more capacity and cargo payload on key existing frequencies, while also providing the flexibility for further expansion in high-growth markets.
The 787-9 complements and extends the super-efficient 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 can fly more passengers and more cargo farther yet with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.
Headquartered in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines is one of the three major airlines in mainland China. Flying a fleet of over 560 long-haul and short-haul airplanes with an average age of less than seven years, China Eastern serves nearly 100 million travelers annually and ranks the 7th largest carriers in the world in terms of passenger transportation volume.
More than 60 customers from six continents of the world have placed orders for more than 1,100 787s, making the 787 the fastest selling twin-aisle airplane in Boeing history. With this order, the 787 Dreamliner will have nearly 100 orders and commitments from Chinese customers.