The Street ran an interesting article about the most innovative routes that are now being run using a B787. One of those interesting routes is 7,071 mile Beijing-Boston flight on a B788 flown by the China’s fourth biggest airline, Hainan. Hainan is a unique airline given that at a time when most of the Chinese airlines are focusing on strengthening their domestic and short to medium haul network, Hainan has opted to go big on the long haul markets such as Western Europe and Americas. Hainan has been using its A330/B787 fleet to operate flights to its various routes from its global hub in Beijing to various cities in the Europe and Americas such as Chicago, Toronto, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow, Seattle and many more.
The airline is banking on routes such with the rights mix of not too much capacity and the right distance to be covered to help it grow its international network further and this coupled with fuel efficiency of the 787 make it a great combination for the airline. As part of this strategy the airline is going and ahead and is already in advance talks with Boeing to buy 30 of the B787-9 version of the plane in addition to the 12 B787-8 it already ordered. At list prices of USD $7.7 billion, this is definitely going to be one of the biggest order by the airline and is testament of the rapid growth that Asian aviation markets have witnessed. Of late a lot of Asian names have sprung up big orders which have led to concern about whether the market is really ready to absorb that much traffic and if it is how it is going to be handled using the existing infrastructure. Well these questions I guess only time can answer and it remains to be seen how much do the respective economies invest in building it up.
I have travelled with the airline quite many times in China and although the service is not very great but it is still better compared to some of the other Chinese carriers I have seen. As a matter of fact the airline is rated 5 stars by Skytrax which in my opinion seems a bit of a high loft when compared to the likes of Cathay or Singapore Airlines service standards.