Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Shanghai Airlines today celebrated the delivery of the carrier's first 787-9 Dreamliner. The airline says it plans to use the super-efficient and passenger-preferred Dreamliner to upgrade its regional and long-range service from its base in China's largest city.
The new airplane, with a special symbol of "100" on its fuselage, is the 100th airplane for Shanghai Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines.
"We are so excited to take delivery of the very first Dreamliner for Shanghai Airlines, as well as China Eastern Group," said Li Yangmin, vice president of China Eastern Group. "With the introduction of these new airplanes, China Eastern Group will also officially launch the global leading new generation Passenger Service System. We are confident that all these efforts will help us significantly upgrade our services and we know our passengers will love it."
The 787-9 is the second member of the Dreamliner family, which offers 20 to 25 percent better fuel efficiency per seat and lower emissions than the airplanes they replace. As the longest-range member of the family, the 787-9 can fly 290 passengers, in a typical two-class configuration, up to 7,635 nautical miles (14,140 km).
Shanghai Airlines is set to receive additional 787-9s in the coming years. The airline plans to fly their initial 787s on popular domestic routes such as Shanghai to Chengdu and Beijing, as well as regional routes from Shanghai to Japan and Korea. As the carrier's 787 fleet grows, it plans to take advantage of the aircraft's long range and superior fuel efficiency to open new, international routes.
"We are thrilled to expand our long-standing partnership with Shanghai Airlines and the China Eastern Group. The 787 Dreamliner's unmatched performance, operating economics and comfort make it the perfect airplane for Shanghai Airlines to expand and enhance their international network," said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company.
Since 2013, more than 60 Dreamliners have entered service across China, flying more than 22 million people on more than 75 unique routes while saving an estimated one million tons of fuel compared to other aircraft.
Boeing jets are the mainstay of China's air travel and cargo system, with more than 50 percent of all commercial jetliners operating in China being Boeing airplanes. In addition, China will soon become the first trillion dollar airplane market in the world, driven primarily by the growing middle class. By 2037, it is forecast that China will need 7,690 airplanes to meet the growing demand and that is expected to increase 6.2% annually.