Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines is continuing its dramatic long-haul growth with the launch of its first flights into North America this summer. The SkyTeam alliance member will introduce a three times weekly link between its Gaoqi International Airport base in Xiamen and Vancouver International Airport in Canada from July 25, 2016, subject to final government approvals.
Xiamen Airlines is significantly expanding its international presence following the arrival of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. Over a three year period (2015 -2017) it plans to introduce seven new long-haul markets to its network. This has commenced with flights starting to Amsterdam and Sydney last year. Alongside Vancouver the airline plans flights to Melbourne and Seattle in 2016 and it has recently applied for rights to serve Los Angeles and New York from 2017.
“Vancouver International Airport now has more Chinese carriers than any airport in the Americas or Europe.”Craig Richmond
President and Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Airport Authority
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 utilises 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.
“Xiamen - Vancouver is the first direct route to North America in our history. It 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,” said Ms Chen Rong, vice president of passenger marketing & sales committee, Xiamen Airlines. “By our network, passengers can also conveniently transfer from Fujian to major cities in China and Asia with fast and seamless experience.”
Xiamen Airlines currently serves a network of 56 destinations in Mainland China, 16 destinations in Greater China and serves a total network of over 320 international routes. However, these have been primarily focussed on the Asian market, and its brand is not well known outside of its home market.
It will serve the Vancouver market using its new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which is configured with four First class, 18 Business class and 215 Economy class seats. Its arrival in the Canadian market further reinforces Vancouver International Airport’s position as a major gateway between Asia and the Americas
“We are thrilled to welcome Xiamen Airlines to Vancouver International Airport. This new route and destination will provide access to new markets for business and leisure for both Canadian and Chinese travellers,” said Craig Richmond, president and chief executive officer, Vancouver Airport Authority. “Vancouver International Airport now has more Chinese carriers than any airport in the Americas or Europe, which is testament to Xiamen Airlines and their support of Vancouver as the gateway airport between the Americas and Asia.”
Xiamen Airlines is the first new carrier to take advantage of Vancouver International Airport’s new incentive and pricing programme which was introduced from January 1, 2016. It offers some of the lowest landing fees to airlines in order to attract and incentivise them to grow sustainably at the airport.
Analysis of MIDT data shows a growing demand for air travel between Xiamen and North America over the past ten years, growing to over 50,000 annual bi-directional O&D passengers in 2014. Since 2005 this demand has grown by an average annual rate of 19.2 percent and levels for the first half of 2015 were up 24.1 percent compared with the same period the previous year.
Vancouver is currently the second largest O&D market in North America from/to Xiamen with annual in-direct flows of over 7,000 bi-directional passengers. Los Angeles leads the way with annual demand of over 10,000 passengers, while New York, San Francisco and Toronto also see estimated flows of more than ten passengers per day.