An airport worker opens a cargo door on Hainan Airlines’ Kung Fu Panda 787-9
A group of 97 students from Lincoln High School, in Tacoma, Wash., recently traveled to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is pretty awesome.
What’s even more awesome for AvGeeks was the aircraft that Hainan Airlines selected for the students’ return flight to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): a shiny new 787-9 decked out in a new Kung Fu Panda livery.
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.
Hainan Airlines inaugural of new non-stop service to Shanghai, Gate S1. – Photo: Don Wilson | Port of Seattle
What’s better than one inaugural flight? Two, of course. Recently, Hainan Airlines started service from Shanghai (PVG) to Seattle (SEA) using an Airbus A330-200, and also Beijing to San Jose (SJC) using a Boeing 787-8. We had writers at both events to cover the occasion. It might be the same airline, but each of the inaugurals were unique.
Welcoming water cannon salute for the 787 – Photo: Michael Restivo | AirlineReporter
We are going to give you the run down of both inaugurals in one story, leading with Lauren, who was in Seattle, and then Michael, who was in San Jose. Both tell it from their own personal perspective — what was it like for them to attend their first inaugural flight media event?
Toronto welcomes Hainan’s 787 Dreamliner – Photo: Philip Debski
What looked to be the first true spring day here in Toronto, March 31, was the day Hainan Airlines finally inaugurated their 787 service to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). They started operating the route in 2010 with three ex-Cathay A340-600s (B-6508, B-6509, and B-6510, if anyone is interested).
Throughout the years the airline has had its ups and downs (such as varying frequency from 3x weekly to once per week) on the route. However, with the 787, Hainan will go daily this summer, a huge improvement to the Beijing-Toronto route. Hainan was also originally supposed to fly the 787 into YYZ starting May 1, but pushed it up to the earlier date in late February.
The Hainan Toronto crew were kind enough to arrange an exclusive tour for me on their big day of receiving the 787 at their base. Here is a rundown of what happened during that tour.