Hainan Airlines has become the second Chinese airline to fly Boeing’s newest aircraft, the single-aisle B737 Max 8, following the launch of the aircraft’s maiden flight on the carrier’s Haikou-Beijing route over the weekend.
The Haikou-based airline is aiming to take delivery of 21 B737 Max aircraft by the end of 2019, with plans to place the aircraft primarily on domestic routes. So far, Hainan Airlines has indicated routes to Shanghai (Pudong), Beijing, Nanjing, Xi’an, Wuhan and Chongqing will see the Max 8, along with other domestic and international routes.
The new aircraft has two classes – business and economy – and an all-new cabin design including larger overhead bins and coloured LED lighting. The business class cabin has eight seats in a 2-2 formation, while economy has 168 seats in a 3-3 layout.
Details of the cabins are so far somewhat patchy, but we do know is that economy class seating will be a new slimline offering with “improved legroom”, and each will have a 2.1A USB power supply for charging devices. This is particularly valuable seeing as the airline has done away with in-flight entertainment screens in economy class in favour of seatback iPad holders.
The Max 8 made its China debut earlier this month, when flag carrier Air China deployed the aircraft on its Beijing-Urumqi service.
Close to 100 B737 Max aircraft are expected to be delivered to airlines in China by the end of next year.