Special thanks to XiamenAir厦门航空 for allowing >talkairlines to exclusively report on the new XiamenAir 787 interiors and cabin layout in July 2014.
(Updated 25 FEBRUARY 2016) Xiamen Airlines (or XiamenAir), a rather unfamiliar brand to flyers outside of East Asia, has begun operations with the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. This newest member of the XiamenAir fleet, previously consisting only of narrow-body planes, has enabled the carrier to start flights to Amsterdam and Sydney. By mid-2016, the network will further expand with services to Melbourne and Vancouver. The carrier is also aggressively planning routes to Paris and New York City. With the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, XiamenAir has transcended from a regional airline into an intercontinental brand.
The XiamenAir 787 has a 3-class 237-seat configuration with 4 First Class seats, 18 lie-flat Business Class seats and 215 Economy Class seats. There are 4 galleys and 8 lavatories throughout the aircraft. A pilot/ first officer resting area is installed in the front of the aircraft while a crew resting area is installed in the rear. Seat types on the XiamenAir 787 are identical with the 787 of its parent company, China Southern Airlines. The difference is how the companies chose different color combinations to match their respective corporate identities.
Moreover, 4 out of the 6 XiamenAir 787s were delivered with Wi-Fi disks while the 2 earlier planes will soon be equipped with the hardware. First and Business Class passengers are able to enjoy free in-flight connectivity while Economy Class passengers can enjoy the service at a reasonable price.
XiamenAir has tapped Zodiac Seats UK (Contour) for its Apollo seats in First Class. This model, based on the Air France “Espace Premiere” La Première seats, was initially designed by Acumen for XiamenAir parent company China Southern Airlines back in 2005. Each customer is able to enjoy a massage chair measuring 67cm wide and 198cm long (when fully reclined). A 15.4-inch PTV screen featuring the Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system is installed in every seat, allowing passengers to enjoy a variety of movies, music, games and other entertainments. If travelers desire to use their personal electronic devices, USB ports and universal power outlets are available for charging purposes. Personal reading lights and multiple storage areas are also provided on each seat.
In Business Class, XiamenAir offers Zodiac Seats UK (Contour) Aura Lite seats in a 2-2-2 layout. The seats are fully-reclinable, though direct aisle access isn’t offered. A 14-inch screen, USB port, universal power outlet, and personal reading lights are offered at each seat. There will also be cup-holders, magazine pockets, and shoe storages. Zodiac Aura Lite model is rather popular among 787 operators; LOT Polish Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and Air India have all selected the model.
Economy Class features Zodiac Seats US (Weber) 5751 seats in a 3-3-3 layout. The seat pitch is a generous 84cm (33 inches) to maximize comfort for passengers. A variety of entertainment choices is offered through the 9-inch PTV touchscreen. Noise-cancelling headphones are also be provided. USB ports are available at each seat for charging purposes.
It is interesting how XiamenAir chose a rather grandiose color and texture design for its First Class while maintaining a sense of “minimalism” in both its Business Class and Economy Class cabin. Busy pattern is alien to the XiamenAir 787 cabin; overall color combinations are not particularly eye-catching yet neat and visually calming.
Introduced with the new seat designs are the new XiamenAir uniforms. Designed by Taiwanese couturier Jamei Chen (陳季敏), the uniforms add yet another modern touch to the rapidly evolving brand. Furthermore, the blue color palette of the design aligns with that of the 787 interiors. These branding changes pave way for more consistent service offerings along with a strengthened brand image.
Exciting changes are happening at XiamenAir. With a fleet that will hit the 200-plane benchmark by 2020, the company is aggressively evolving from a small regional carrier into a major international player. On one hand, XiamenAir is making every effort to enhance customer experiences and improve reputations; on the other hand, XiamenAir is rapidly building its international presence and brand recognition. Reportedly, the expansion has been so successful that the airline is already looking at ordering the larger 787-9 type to extend presence to more destinations around the world.