The Vancouver Airport Authority has named 2014 the “Year of the Dreamliner”. On the morning of February 19, at the foot of Vancouver International Airport’s The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe sculpture, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority Craig Richmond welcomed China Southern Airline’s newest addition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The plane had made its inaugural flight from China to YVR, carrying some distinguished guests from across the Pacific. “Our colleagues here from China Southern just arrived on the aircraft and they look very fresh, and very rested, so clearly it is an excellent way to travel,” Richmond remarked. “This daily flight connects British Columbia’s people, products, and businesses with important trade and travel opportunities in Guangzhou and beyond.”
While China Southern’s Dreamliner is not the first of its kind at YVR (Japan Airlines launched its Dreamliner service earlier this month), it is the first airline to offer daily flights between China and YVR and first class seating on this particular plane, an aircraft that is gaining a reputation for its added cargo room, greater fuel efficiency (using 20 per cent less fuel compared to other planes of its size), and superior customer experience.
Indeed, the Dreamliner’s added features are impressive. “Electrochromatic” window shades let passengers dim the windows instead of pulling down a shade for an ever-present, glare-free view. Scalloped chevrons on engine casings reduce cabin noise. Overhead bins are the the largest in the industry, accommodating a variety of carry-on luggage. Engine technology from General Electric and Rolls-Royce represent a near two-generation leap. If all those creature comforts weren’t enough, energy-efficient LED bulbs in the cabin can be customized to simulate daylight or a restful night sky.
It seems added routes to China couldn’t come at a better time. The country is now Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the largest resource of international students in the province. When taking their turns to speak, both Wangeng Tan and Runglong Mao acknowledged the benefits of added transit between the two countries. “Guangdong [province] has a long history of financial exchanges with Canada, which have continued to expand in recent years. As the world headquarters of China Southern Airlines, Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, next only to Beijing and Shanghai,” noted Wangeng Tan, president and CEO of China Southern Airlines. “The Boeing 787 is a spectacular rainbow that bridges China and Canada,” added Runlong Mao, deputy sconsul general of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver. “I wish both great success in the years to come.” The flight forecast for China Southern’s new Dreamliner appears to be sunny skies and smooth sailing.
Photos by Kimberly Budziak.