Hainan Airlines looks to have its sights set on launching a new route between Xian and Los Angeles this December, giving the Chinese city a new non-stop connection to California after United dropped its San Francisco-Xian service last year.
The Chinese carrier has submitted an application for a twice-weekly service on the route operated by its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced in a recent statement.
The CAAC has not specified the days Hainan Airlines is looking to fly the route, however, and at this stage it is unclear whether the carrier would look to use its newer B787-9 aircraft on the route, or its older B787-8s.
Hainan Airlines has two distinct configurations for its B787-9s. From May 2017, the airline began offering a new business class seat product on some of its B787-9s, featuring the Cirrus 3 Herringbone seat (pictured below), laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. In this set up there are 30 of these fully flat seats, which can recline to form a 78-inch-long bed.
However, the carrier does still operate its old-configuration B787-9s, which offer its older business class seat (pictured below). This set up still offers 30 seats overall, though with a 2-2-2 forward-facing set up, meaning window-seat passengers don’t get direct access to the aisle. The good news is that these are also fully flat, reclining to form a bed between 73 and 80 inches long (depending on the seat chosen).
The older B787-8 have a similar business class set up to these old-configuration B787-9s, though there are more seats – 36 overall – that are spread across two separated cabins.
Hainan Airlines also recently revamped its HNA Club in Xian, also known as the Prime Wing Lounge, using a similar design as that seen in its refurbished Beijing lounge.
The proposed service is the latest in a string of new routes that the Chinese carrier has opened between the US and China over the past 18 months.
In March last year, the airline launched two non-stop services to Los Angeles from both Chengdu and Chongqing in the west of China.
This was followed in October with two flights to New York, also from Chengdu and Chongqing.