Boeing Commercial Airplanes finalized a contract with China Southern Airlines for 12 new 787-9 Dreamliners, an order it values at $3.2 billion. China Southern is the world’s sixth-largest airline in terms of passenger volume, having carried more than 100 million passengers in 2014, and Asia’s largest airline in terms of fleet size, currently at 700 aircraft. The fleet includes Boeing 787s, 777s, 747s, 757s, and 737s, and according to the jet-builder China Southern expects to grow its fleet to 1,000 aircraft by 2020.
The new order for the twin-engine wide-body Dreamliners will expand its long-distance fleet. Currently, its long-distance jets include 10 787-8 aircraft. The 12 new 787-9 jets will be delivered between 2018 and 2020.
China Southern Airlines was the launch customer for the 787 series in China. It operates those jets on non-stop routes, from Guangzhou to London and Guangzhou to Rome; as well as Guangzhou to Vancouver; and Guangzhou to Perth, Australia, and Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand.
"The 787 Dreamliners have helped us to achieve initial success in implementing our internationalization strategy in the past few years and enabled us to make our operation and services more appealing to passengers," commented Tan Wangeng, CEO, China Southern Airlines. "The additional new 787-9s will further increase our capacity and services for our long-haul routes."
The 787-9 is the larger of the two current style variants for the Dreamliner. The OEM has booked a total of 557 orders for the 787-9, and has delivered 77 since it was introduced in 2013.
Boeing calls the 787 its most fuel-efficient commercial jet, with a structure that incorporates a large volume of composite materials helping to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% versus similar-size jets.
"China Southern has been a long-standing Boeing customer and we truly appreciate their confidence in the 787," according to Ihssane Mounir, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ SVP for Northeast Asia Sales. "The 787-9 will help the airline achieve a new level of efficiency and profitability."