As the XiamenAir Boeing 787-8 B-2761, flight MF803 touched down on runway 16 at Melbourne Airport (YMML) at 9:45 AM on Friday the 1st of July, it became the 7th regular Boeing 787 service to operate to the airport following Jetstar, Royal Brunei, United, SCOOT, Air India and Air New Zealand. Arriving just a tad ahead of schedule the striking blue and white livery was given a traditional water cannon salute from Airservices Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF), firefighting water tenders, after which it was parked at parking bay D18 for the waiting dignitaries to welcome the inaugural flights passengers.
Present for this landing were XiamenAir Vice President Mr Jianyong Mu alongside Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation & Trade The Honourable Philip Dalidakis and Commercial Counselor from the Consulate General’s Melbourne Office of the People’s Republic of China Mr Xiaojia Wang. They were among the dignitaries at the airport to welcome the crew and 213 passengers.
If your unfamiliar with XiamenAir here is the details you need. Xiamen is located in the Fujian provenance on the South-Eastern coast of China, with a population of 4 million people. It is also a major hub for the Chinese airlines throughout Eastern China. As to the airline itself, XiamenAir is the sixth largest airline in China operating an all Boeing fleet consisting of 737-700/800’s, 757-200’s and the 787 of which the airline will eventually operate a fleet of eight, a mix of 787-8’s and 787-9’s. To date the airline has 6 787-8’s in service. This diverse fleet operates to 53 countries across China and 21 International destinations in Asia, Europe, North America and now Australia.
The airline is a member of the Skyteam Alliance which encompasses airlines such as, KLM, DELTA, Vietnam Airlines, Korean Air, Alitalia and Air France to name a few. Together the Skyteam Alliance network operates over 17,000 daily flights to 1,062 destinations in 177 countries.
Today’s XiamenAir flight is part of the airlines twice-weekly non-stop service that will operate on Monday and Friday. The Airline is also the second Chinese airline to operate direct flight to Melbourne alongside Sichuan Airlines Melbourne-Chengdu service which began in 2013. Its stay in Melbourne was brief, at 12:30pm it again took off for Xiamen as MF804.
China is the major source of International visitors for the state of Victoria, with 731,000 people arriving from China in the 12 months ending November 2015.
Boeing 787 operators into Melbourne Airport include:
XiamenAir is the second Australian destination after Sydney and we wish the airline and friendly staff all the best with their new service. Aviation Spotters Online also wishes to thank Melbourne Airport Corporation for the help in covering this event and the assistance in preparing the article.