The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced today that Hainan Airline Aviation Group has formally applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for permission to fly daily nonstops from Beijing to Boston using Boeing 787 aircraft.
Creating nonstop service from Boston to China was a key goal of Gov. Deval Patrick’s trade mission to China in December. Patrick, Massport CEO Thomas J. Kinton Jr., Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen and Secretary of Economic Development Dan O’Connell were among members of the delegation who met with the Vice Minister Yang Guoqing of the CAAC.
“This application is an important milestone in the marathon required to establish this desired route,’’ said Patrick. The governor referenced the application in an economic speech delivered today at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
The CAAC is the Chinese equivalent of the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. The CAAC said it would receive public comments on the application until April 10.
“We have been talking with the Chinese for three years to develop this route,’’ said Massport’s Kinton. “Every major US airport wants China service, but we have the market to support it. Logan had 38,000 passengers travel from Boston on tickets purchased with a final destination of Beijing, and another 30,000 headed to Shanghai.’’
With production delays in the long-range, fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner pushing back aircraft delivery, it is unlikely the service on Hainan’s Grand China Airlines would begin before 2010.
In 2007, Logan Airport set a new record with more than 28.1 million passengers using the airport. This was accomplished with fewer than 400,000 flights, about 90,000 fewer than when the previous passenger record of more than 27.7 million was set in 2000.
Boston Logan’s $4.4 billion modernization program, including new terminals, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, has transformed the airport into a world-class facility. In 2007, Boston Logan was ranked by Aviation.com as being the easiest airport in the nation to get to. Boston Logan serves as the gateway to the six-state New England region with a population of more than 14 million and offers nonstop service to 77 domestic and 32 international destinations.