China’s Xiamen Airlines has received permission to operate long-haul international flights.
The carrier, which is based in southeast China Fujian province, currently services domestic and regional routes, with international destinations including Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Seoul.
But the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has now upgraded the airline’s Air Operator’s Certificate, giving it permission to commence long-haul services to destinations in North America and Europe.
Majority-owned by China Southern Airlines, Xiamen Airlines has been preparing for this expansion for some time now. It joined SkyTeam Alliance last November and in July this year confirmed an order for six Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in July 2014.
These aircraft will be used to launch long-haul flights from both Xiamen and Fuzhou airports.
Xiamen Airlines currently operates a fleet of 92 aircraft, but intends to more-than-double this in the future, with outstanding orders for more than 110 new aircraft.