SEATTLE — XiamenAir launched its Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service on Monday Sept. 26th, creating an air bridge connecting two of China’s major special economic zones and an economic heavyweight on the U.S. West Coast.
This is not only the first long haul route originating in Xiamen with an end point in the United States, but also the first direct international service between Shenzhen and the U.S.
At approximately 10:25 local Seattle time the XiamenAir Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (B-2763 • MSN 41543 • LN 343) was seen floating over 34R on a gorgeous Seattle morning for the first time as the Chinese Carrier was launching its first route to the United States and second flight to North America following the carrier’s launch into Vancouver earlier this year.
The inaugural flight comes five years to the day of the first delivery of the Boeing 787, on a day that was not nearly as nice as it was for Monday’s first flight.
The service will operate three flights per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The flight numbers are MF845 and MF846.
XiamenAir chairman and general manager Che Shanglun said, “The launch of the Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service is an important reflection of the results of the meeting between Chinese and American leaders in 2015. On the heels of these events, a Fuzhou-New York and a Xiamen-LA service will also be initiated, making air travel, and, by consequence, exchanges between the two countries much easier.”
The Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service is the sixth long haul and the first American route that XiamenAir has launched. The existing services including Xiamen-Amsterdam, Fuzhou-Sydney, Xiamen-Sydney, Xiamen-Melbourne and Xiamen-Vancouver. The newly opened Seattle service is XiamenAir’s first long haul route with a stop at a city outside of the Fujian province.
“Sea-Tac Airport is one of the most connected gateways to Asia and it is an honor that Xiamen chose Seattle to launch its U.S. service,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “Shenzhen is known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of China and this new destination will be a tremendous opportunity for both business and leisure travelers to experience our shared values.”
To complete the build out of a network that extends beyond Seattle, XiamenAir has signed a partnership agreement with Alaska Airlines that enables passengers traveling to Seattle via XiamenAir, to fly onward to 61 major and secondary destinations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico by connecting to an Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle.
Over the past three decades, XiamenAir has continuously shown a profit for 29 years, the longest period of reporting uninterrupted profits in Chinese civil aviation history. Interestingly, XiamenAir operates the largest all-Boeing aircraft fleet in China.
The carrier is the first airline in China and second in Asia to order the high density version of the 737 MAX. The airline is already a 737 MAX customer via an order for 30 737 MAX 8s that was placed last year, and operates an all-Boeing fleet numbering 165 airframes.