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China's Hainan Airlines boosts Boeing 787 program with US$ 7.7 bln order

While a production bottleneck signaled favorable customer reception and demand when the 787 made its debut in 2009, it has now become a liability because of the effective A350, a competitor airliner being marketed by Boeing’s rival Airbus, part of the Airbus Group (EPA:AIR) – formerly known as EADS group.

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China's Hainan Airlines (SHA:600221) has given a USD$7.7 billion boost to Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) 787 program by ordering 30 such long-haul airliners to further expand its rapidly growing fleet.

The aircraft will be delivered by 2021. Hainan is already operating eight Boeing 787s, having started to operate the aircraft in July 2013. It is expecting four more to be dleivered as part of the original order.

The latest order is no doubt welcome for Boeing.

After introducing the 787 ‘Dreamliner’, praising it as the most efficient airliner in the world, the manufacturer received so many orders it could barely keep up. Recently, however, Boeing’s 787 orders have dwindled because of production delays that have pushed the earliest delivery dates for new customers from 2020 onwards, as the company deals with the existing backlog.

While a production bottleneck signaled favorable customer reception and demand when the 787 made its debut in 2009, it has now become a liability because of the effective A350, a competitor airliner being marketed by Boeing’s rival Airbus, part of the Airbus Group (EPA:AIR) – formerly known as EADS group.

In November 2014, US airline Delta (NYSE:DAL) placed a firm order for 50 units of the A350, at a total value of US$14 billion, bypassing the 787 because of an anticipated faster delivery time.

Hainan will be getting aircraft that were originally reserved for United Continental (NYSE:UAL), which has chosen to replace the 787 with larger Boeing 777s.

The 777 is an older design but Boeing announced upgrades for 2016, making it 2 percent more efficient, ahead of a completely redesigned variant to be launched in 2020.

Hainan Airlines is China's fourth-largest carrier and on Wednesday it announced a 20 percent increase in net profits for 2014. 

The Boeing 787 is one of the most advanced airliners in the world. The company said that 163 Boeing 787 aircraft were in service as of July 2014.

The 787 is said to deliver a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption over an equivalent size airliner of the previous generation, such as the Boeing 767 range.

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