China Southern and Japan Airlines are deploying Dreamliners to Vancouver starting this month.
China Southern’s Guangzhou-Vancouver service was, before yesterday, operated by the 284-seat B777-200ER with three classes – 24 first class seats configured in 2-2-2, 53 business class seats in 2-3-2 configuration and 207 economy class seats arranged in 3-4-3. It has been substituted by the three-class B787 – four first class seats in 1-2-1 configuration; 24 business class seats in 2-2-2 configuration; and 200 economy class seats in 3-3-3 configuration, with a total of 228 seats. Click here for a detailed review of the airline’s Dreamliner.
The change represents a marked decrease in the number of seats, especially in the front end of the plane. But Tan Wan Geng, president and chief executive of China Southern explained, “Since introducing our Guangzhou-Vancouver service, we have been expanding our presence with more flights on this important route. Our 787 Dreamliner provides an even better experience for business travellers and indicates our confidence in the growing Vancouver aviation marketplace.”
But the main reason may well be that the Dreamliner offers better passenger load factors and fuel economy. The older aircraft are also in need of refitting. The CZ fleet of B777 consists of four B777-200s and six B777-200ERs in operation since 1997, and the carrier began refurbishing the B777-200s last year (see here).
Japan Airlines also began operating a B787 on its Tokyo Narita-Vancouver route earlier this month. The 186-seat Dreamliner contains two classes – 24 business class seats in 2-2-2 configuration and 144 economy seats arranged in 2-4-2. At present, the 787 is operating the route together with a 232-seat B767, which includes two classes (30 business seats in 2-2-2 and 202 economy seats in 2-3-2), but starting March 30, the Dreamliner will completely take over this daily operation.
When asked about the significant reduction in the number of seats by using the Dreamliner, a JAL spokesperson said the airline had reviewed various factors such as “profit potential” before deciding on the switch and the purpose was to offer a quality product and comfort.