The 7E7 Dreamliner was launched by All Nippon on April 26, 2004 and Boeing achieved a major coup on January 28, 2005 when the People's Republic of China ordered 60 aircraft to spread amongst six Chinese airlines: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.
At the same time Boeing adopted the name 787 for their new aircraft which was scheduled to enter service in 2008, with all aircraft delivered to China in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sadly this was not to be the case as a series of delays meant the 787 didn't even fly for the first time until December 15, 2009 with the first delivery to All Nippon on September 25, 2011.
The constant delays to the 787 program didn't do it any favours and in October 2011 China Eastern cancelled its allocation of the 60 plane order (24 aircraft) and instead replaced them with 45 737s. Tellingly it also bought 15 A330s at the same time.
The first 787 deliveries to China in fact didn't occur until June 2, 2013 when China Southern received its first of ten aircraft, B-2725. This aircraft had been effectively complete for several years and sitting minus engines in the standard CZ colours in Seattle. After route proving on domestic services the 787s were initially placed onto the Guangzhou-London route and then the Auckland trip, followed by Paris and Vancouver. The 787s seat 228 passengers in a three class cabin featuring 4 First Class, 24 Business Class and 200 Economy Class seats.
The ten aircraft are registered loosely out of sequence from B-2725-27, B-2732-33, B-2735-37 and B-2787-88. They were also not delivered in registration order though the first and last frames are in the right positions. All the CZ 787s sport a unique colour scheme named 'Wings of Dreams' that was designed by John Hull at Teague. Based upon an Egret the scheme includes a pair of blue and white wings along each side of the fuselage rolling up into the traditional CZ tail. B-2733, the 95th 787 built, was the second aircraft delivered with the tenth and last aircraft, B-2788, arriving in June 2014.
Subsequently the larger Boeing 787-9 has found significant success in the Chinese market including with China Southern who have 16 of that version.
For other posts about Chinese 787s see:
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: