Hainan Airlines’ inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 (B-2739), from Changsha to Los Angeles on final approach.
Hainan Airlines, the largest privately operated carrier in China, commenced Los Angeles’s newest non-stop service to the Chinese mainland on January 21. The twice-weekly flights, operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, will connect LAX to the capital of Hunan province, Changsha (CSX). AirlineReporter was invited to be on the ramp at LAX for the arrival of the inaugural flight from CSX.
It’s no secret that China is one of the world’s largest consumers of narrow-body aircraft. It is also no secret that China wants to be seen as capable of developing its own commercial airline industry. The Comac C919 is the answer to their problem. Unlike the ARJ-21, this aircraft is a much more ambitious affair.
Though still mostly constructed from aluminum, the aircraft features composite materials — at least in the wingbox. The Comac C919 has garnered 450 orders prior to the first airframe being completed, with the first flight expected towards the end of the fourth quarter this year. It looks, to the untrained eye, as if this program is off to a promising start.
Unpack the 450 orders, however, and the picture starts to look a little different.
The first Airbus A320 plane assembled in the northern China
The first Chinese-built Airbus A320 passed its flight trial and is planned to be delivered to China’s Sichuan Airlines by the end of June. This is the first Airbus built outside of Europe and there are quite a few more planned. Airbus hopes to be producing four A320’s per month by the end of 2011.
Airbus ressures customers of the planes quality, even though it was built in a different location. “This A320 assembled in China unquestionably demonstrated the same quality and performance as those assembled and delivered in Hamburg or Toulouse,” Fernando Alonso, senior vice president at Airbus, said in a statement.
Many analysts see China as a booming airline market. With more and more people being able to afford to fly, air travel has been taking off (yes, pun intended). China is even attempting to build its own airliners, the ARJ-21.
Source: Reuters Image: CCTV