China’s Xiamen Airlines confirms 787 purchases

Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines has finalized 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 2014.

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 officials 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.