Today, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) celebrated the inaugural flight of Xiamen Airlines 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).
“We’re delighted to welcome Xiamen Airlines as our fifth airline from Mainland China,” said Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “It’s no surprise that this very successful airline chose YVR as its first North American destination – our city has close ties with Fujian province, while our northwest location and world-class facility makes YVR the best gateway to North America for any Asian airline.”
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 chairman and CEO of Xiamen airlines Mr. Che Shanglun pointed out that Vancouver-Xiamen route was the first route that enables Xiamen airlines to extend its network towards the North America in company’s history.
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.
Vancouver Airport Authority secured the new route under its new five-year airline rates and charges program, ConnectYVR, which began on January 1, 2016. This program offers airlines the lowest landing and terminal fees of any competing airport in Canada and the U.S., while incenting and rewarding airline growth. Xiamen Airlines is the first new airline attracted to YVR under the program.
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.