Hainan Airlines to use Boeing Dreamliner for Seattle-China service


by GLENN FARLEY / KING5 News Aviation Specialist

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley


Posted on January 10, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 7:45 PM

SEA-TAC AIRPORT -  On Friday China's Hainan Airlines became the second carrier to serve Sea-Tac Airport with Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

 Like most new events here, the on-time arrival of the new jet service was celebrated with traditional sprays of water from a pair of airport fire trucks.

 At the gate, passengers gathered for the return flight to Beijing celebrated along with airline executives with cake.  The Boeing built jet replaces an Airbus 330 that was used on the route.

The Port of Seattle is more than pleased with the arrival and claims that Sea-Tac is the only airport, at least on the West Coast, to be served by two different carriers flying Boeing's high tech jet.  All Nippon began service in 2012.

But the celebratory if routine nature of a route now being flown by the 787s is news in itself. Boeing seems to have put the airplanes headline generating nature behind it.

It was a year ago January 7 when the rear lithium-ion battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire after the jet was tied up in the gate in Boston.  An in-flight second battery incident in Japan soon after triggered a fleet wide grounding until Boeing created a containment system surrounding the plane's two batteries and other fixes.  There haven't been any further incidents.

An Ethiopian 787 that was singed by a fire from a piece of emergency equipment while parked at London's Heathrow airport last summer has just been repaired and returned to service.

After three-and-a-half years of delays in development, Boeing's now officially delivered 114 of the jets to airlines as of December 31. At one point Friday, 40 of them were airborne and didn't make any news.

Now, airlines like Hainan, which plans to use the jets on all of its North American routes, can focus on how much money the carrier is saving in fuel and maintenance costs, up to 20 percent.

Passengers can focus on the planes quieter interior, larger windows, higher humidity levels and lower altitude pressurization due to the nature of the plane's use of carbon fiber and plastic resin construction.