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American bolsters China service with first Dreamliner flights

02/12/2015| 6:23:29 PM|

American Airlines be flying its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Dallas-Fort Worth and Beijing.

(Bloomberg) -- American Airlines Group Inc. will add to its small but expanding network across the Pacific by flying its first Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner between Dallas-Fort Worth and Beijing.

Flights will begin June 2 and will be followed two days later with service to Buenos Aires, the carrier said in a statement Wednesday. Before heading abroad, American will fly the Dreamliner between its hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago starting May 7.

American has the fewest flights across the Pacific among the three biggest U.S. carriers. It has been expanding service to Asia, adding routes last year between Dallas-Fort Worth and Hong Kong and Shanghai. Flights to Beijing will debut in May using a Boeing 777-200ER before switching to the Dreamliner a month later. The Beijing flight will give American 11 routes between the U.S. and Asia.

“Adding the 787 Dreamliner to our network gives us the opportunity to increase our efficiency on long-haul flights across the globe and potentially open up new markets in our network,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer.

The 787 is part of a plan to modernize American’s fleet, and the carrier will receive about two new planes each week this year. The Dreamliner, a carbon-fiber jet, boasts 20 percent lower fuel costs than comparable twin-engine models and allows airlines to fly farther without having to use an even larger jet that they may not be able to fill entirely.

American will configure its 787-8 model with 28 fully lie-flat seats in business class, 48 main cabin seats with added legroom and 150 coach seats. Other features include seat-back screens, larger, dimmable windows and a walk-up bar in the premium cabin.

Customers can start booking 787 flights on Saturday, Feb. 14. American will add more 787 service to international markets this year as the new planes arrive. American has firm orders for 42 787s that will be delivered through 2018, including the 787-8 and 787-9 variants. It holds options to acquire another 58.

United Continental Holdings Inc., the first U.S. passenger airline to fly the Dreamliner, now has 14 in its fleet. The planes operate out of United hubs in Houston, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco on routes to London; Lagos, Nigeria; Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Shanghai and Chengdu, China; and Melbourne.

American received its first 787 from Boeing on Jan. 22 and has used the plane on training runs since then.

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TAGS: American Airlines | Boeing | dreamliner
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