Xiamen Airlines is a privately owned company based at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport with secondary hubs at Fuzhou and Wuyishan airports. Xiamen Airlines operates a network of domestic and regional services throughout China and Asia, its primary market being domestic China, but is also in the process of developing an international route network.
In 1984, Xiamen Airlines was established by Civil Aviation Administration of China and Fujian Provincial Government. The initial three shareholders of the first joint-stock local company in China were CAAC Shanghai Administration (50%), Fujian Investment & Enterprise Co. (25%) and Xiamen Special Economic Zone Construction & Development Co. (25%). Today, the shareholders of the airline are China Southern Airlines (51%), Xiamen C&D Corporation Limited (34%) and Jizhong Energy Resources (15%).
In January 1985, Xiamen Airlines officially started air transport operations by leasing its first B737-200 and crew. Later that year, Xiamen Airlines recruited its first group of ground service personnel and flight crew.
In 1988, Xiamen was operating a fleet of three leased Boeing 737-200.
In 1994, with the approval of Fujian Provincial Government, Xiamen Airlines was restructured and merged with Fujian Airlines, which became a subsidiary of Xiamen Airlines.
In 1996, Xiamen Airlines received approval from CAAC to begin to operate international air services for passengers and cargo from Fujian Province to neighboring countries and regions.
In 1999, Xiamen Airlines became an active member of FSF (Flight Safety Foundation) and IATA (International Air Transport Association).
In 2000, Xiamen Airlines operated its first scheduled international flight from Xiamen to Bangkok. Also, the Xiamen Airlines Fuzhou Branch was established to replace the subsidiary Fujian Airlines.
In December 2004, Xiamen Airlines successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), becoming the 17th IOSA registered airline in the world.
In September 2006, Xiamen Airlines inaugurated its first direct flight from Xiamen to Singapore, an important step in achieving its corporate strategy to make Fujian Province a convenient corridor between Southeast Asia and mainland China.
In 2009, Xiamen Airlines received nine new 737-800 aircraft, at the end of the year operating a fleet of 57 aircraft.
In May 2011, aiming for further international expansion, Xiamen Airlines signed a purchase agreement for six Boeing 787 aircraft to be delivered in 2014-15. In July, Xiamen Airlines received its first B737-700 High-Hot aircraft, also the first with Boeing Sky Interior. Xiamen Airlines is the launch customer for the B737-700 in the High-Hot configuration.
In April 2012, after accumulating 2 million continuous safe flight hours, Xiamen Airlines was officially awarded the Two-Star Award for Flight/Air Safety by the CAAC. Xiamen Airlines’ service was also awarded national standard five-star certification, Xiamen Airlines becoming the only civil airline in China to earn this certification.
In July 2012, Xiamen Airlines officially released its new brand logo, the Flying Egret, and new aircraft livery themed Bright Future; this new look also includes calling the airline XiamenAir. In November, the airline officially joined SkyTeam as its 19th member.
In November 2013, the general manager of Xiamen Airlines attended the delivery ceremony for the airline’s 100th aircraft in Seattle, and he also visited Los Angeles and Vancouver, meeting with local airport authorities to discuss the possibility of cooperation and making preparations for launching non-stop North American routes with the upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
On August 13, 2014, the Jiangxi Provincial Government and Xiamen Airlines signed a Memorandum of Cooperation regarding the establishment of Jiangxi Airlines, a Chinese low-cost carrier based at Nanchang Changbei International Airport, Jiangxi, that operated its first flight in January 2016.
On August 31, 2014, Xiamen Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the first wide-body aircraft of its all-Boeing fleet. The airline will use the Boeing 787 Dreamliners on long-haul routes from the Fujian province to Europe, North America, and Australia.
In July 2015, Xiamen Airlines launched nonstop service between Xiamen and Amsterdam, marking the opening of the airline’s first intercontinental route. At the end of the year, Xiamen Airlines also launched two new routes to Sydney, from Xiamen and Fuzhou (the first ever intercontinental route between Fuzhou and a destination outside of Asia).
In 2016, Xiamen Airlines plans to continue expanding its overseas network and launch nonstop service to Melbourne, Vancouver, and New York. Xiamen Airlines is currently undergoing massive expansion and transformation, evolving from a small regional carrier into a major international player. The airline is making every effort to enhance its customer experience and improve its reputation, but it is also rapidly building its international presence and brand recognition. The airline hopes to transform Fuzhou and Xiamen into major international hubs in China.
In February 2017, Xiamen Airlines launched the first direct intercontinental route linking the Fujian Province to the US, from Fuzhou to New York – JFK.
In May 2018, Xiamen Airlines received its first Boeing B737 MAX 8 aircraft. Alongside the 20 Boeing B737 MAX 8 ordered, Xiamen Airlines is expected to receive 10 Boeing B737 MAX 10 the newest variant of the new MAX series, from 2019.
In July 2018, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines formed a single joint venture by merging their existing agreements. By connecting their networks, customers are offered a wide choice of destinations connecting China to Europe.
In December 2018, Xiamen Airlines ended Boeing B757 200 operations and received its ninth Boeing B737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Between 1988 and 2003, nine Xiamen Airlines aircraft were hijacked, but only one hijacking caused fatalities. The hijacking of Xiamen Airlines Flight 8301 led to the collision of the B737 with two other aircraft, a parked China Southwest Airlines Boeing 707 and a China Southern Airlines Boeing 757 waiting to take off, on the runways of the old Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. A total of 128 people were killed, 82 of the 102 passengers on Flight 8301 and 46 of the 110 passengers on the China Southern Airlines flight.