Vancouver International Airport is set to be the first airport in the Americas and Europe to be served by five mainland-Chinese air carriers when a Xiamen Airlines 787 Dreamliner aircraft touches down at what is expected to be 6:40 p.m. tonight (July 25).
The airline, which is based at Xiamen, China’s Gaogi International Airport, has never before landed in North America. Instead, it has focused mostly on China, with 56 destinations within mainland China and another 16 other destinations in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Vancouver is set to be the airline’s 73rd destination.
Other mainland-China carriers to service Vancouver International Airport are Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.
The Xiamen Airlines flights will leave Vancouver at 1:40 a.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and arrive in Xiamen at 5:30 a.m. the following day while flights departing Xiamen will leave at 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and arrive in Vancouver at 6:40 p.m. the same day.
“We are thrilled to welcome Xiamen Airlines to YVR. This new route and destination will provide access to new markets for business and leisure for both Canadian and Chinese travellers,” said Vancouver Airport Authority Craig Richmond in March, when the flights were announced.
Xiamen is located on the southeast coast of China and has a population of more than 3.8 million.
It is an important port city for both China and foreign countries and is one of China’s five Special Economic Zones which utilizes an economic management system making it more attractive to do business there. It is also a popular tourist destination known for its scenery and tree-lined beaches.
Chen Rong, who is vice president of Xiamen Airlines’ passenger marketing & sales committee, said that the non-stop route to Vancouver International Airport “is not only a key step for our global strategic layout covering Europe, Oceania, and North America, but also a great impetus to promote cultural and economic exchanges between Fujian and Vancouver.”
A ceremony is slated for this evening to welcome the first Xiamen Airlines plane.
Business in Vancouver reported in 2012 that Xiamen was one of the Chinese cities from which it was trying to convince airlines to operate direct non-stop flights to Vancouver.