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Airline signs deal to buy 8 Boeing 787 aircraft
Updated: 2005-09-20 09:10

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines signed a contract for eight Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft, saying the purchase is part of its plan to become a major international carrier, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The deal is the last stage in an agreement signed in January in which six Chinese airlines pledged to buy a total of 60 of the planes worth 7.2 billion dollars.

Hainan Airlines president Chen Feng said adding the 787 to the current 737 fleet was a strategic plan for the airline to become a world famous carrier.

The airline would receive its first plane before 2008 when China hosts the summer Olympics, Xinhua reported.

Like most of its economy China's aviation industry is booming and it needs more planes to meet heavy demand. Carriers hauled 121 million passengers last year, representing 16 percent annual growth that was twice the world average, according to Chinese statistics.

International financier George Soros owns a 14.8 percent share of Hainan Airlines through American Aviation.

Production of the 787, Boeing's long-distance 217-seater which is touted as more fuel-efficient than other jets, will begin next year. The first flight is expected in 2007.

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