Boeing finalizes deal to sell six 787 Dreamliners to Chinese airline

Boeing Co. assembles the 787 Dreamliner at its North Charleston campus (above) and near Seattle. (Grace Beahm/ Buy this photo

A Chinese airline looking to extend its reach has finalized an order for six Boeing 787s in a deal that’s been in the works for almost a decade.

The first Dreamliner delivery to Xiamen Airlines is scheduled for next year.

The carrier and Boeing said in a statement that the deal is valued at $1.3 billion based on the jet’s list price, but commercial aircraft buyers typically negotiate discounts with the manufacturer.

“Adding 787s to our all-Boeing fleet is a strategic decision to facilitate our international expansion plans,” said Xiamen Airlines CEO Che Shanglun. “The range and efficiency of the 787 makes it an ideal fit in our new, nonstop international routes.”

The airline now focuses on southeast and northeast Asia from its base in Fujian, a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. The new fleet of 787-8s will enable it to expand and offer service to Europe, North America and Australia, the carrier said.

Boeing assembles the 787-8 at plants in North Charleston and Everett, Wash.

According to an Associated Press report, Xiamen announced plans to buy its first batch of Dreamliners in November 2003 at a government ceremony that included the U.S. Commerce Department and Chinese trade officials.

The launch of the 787 was delayed several years by production problems.

Xiamen’s parent, China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd., said in May 2011 that it had inked an agreement for six of the jets pending approval from the Chinese government, according to a report this week by Reuters news service.

Boeing announced the sale Monday. It did not say where the six planes will be assembled.

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