YVR recently became the first airport in North America and Europe to be served by five airlines from Mainland China when Xiamen Airlines made its inaugural flight to Vancouver, and first ever flight to North America. The new year-round, non-stop, Boeing 787 service will operate three times weekly between YVR and Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN).
The new Chinese service originates from Xiamen Airlines’ namesake city, which has a population of more than 3.8 million people. Located in southeastern China, Xiamen boasts a warm climate, tropical scenery and tree-lined beaches. It has long been a popular stop for Chinese tourists, but the city is now welcoming more and more foreign travellers. It is a sophisticated destination, with hip boutiques and cafes alongside traditional temples and attractions. In addition to serving Canadians and Americans whose destination is Xiamen, the new route will be bolstered by a 72-hour visa-free stopover program.
Xiamen Airlines has been in operation for 32 years and for the past three years it has been named the Best Airline in Mainland China and received the highest honour for service, winning the China Quality Award in 2016. The company operates an all-Boeing fleet of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft. The new YVR route, added as part of a rapid intercontinental expansion, is operated on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with 4 First class, 18 Business class and 215 Economy class seats. Flight MF806 will depart Vancouver at 1:40 a.m. and arrive in Xiamen at 5:30 a.m. local time the following day. The westbound flight, MF805, departs Xiamen at 9:30 p.m. before crossing the International Date Line to arrive in Vancouver at 6:40 p.m.
The new service will add 158 jobs to the B.C. economy and $9 million in Gross Domestic Product for the province. In addition to strengthening business and trade ties, Canada stands to see more Chinese tourists taking advantage of the new, non-stop service.
In April 2008, the City of Richmond signed a Friendly Cooperation Agreement with Xiamen, and in 2012, Xiamen became its official sister city. The Sister City Program fosters mutual understanding and meaningful connections with other cities and cultures.
Welcome, Xiamen! Check out the inaugural video below: