China Southern Airlines is expecting to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 by early June, making it the first Chinese operator of the type.
The carrier is awaiting Boeing's confirmation of a definite delivery date, but understands that it should be around end-May or early June, a company official tells Flightglobal Pro.
"Our schedules have been prepared and we've also trained our pilots. The aircraft type has been delayed for a while now, so we're hoping they will come in soon," he says.
He adds that China Southern is likely to receive at least half of its 10 787s on order within the year - which means the carrier will be taking one 787 on average for the next several months.
The aircraft will first be used on domestic services, likely from its base in Guangzhou to major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, before it is used on international routes, says the official.
When contacted, a Boeing China spokesman says the airframer does not disclose its delivery schedule.
"China Southern will be the first Chinese carrier to take delivery of the 787. We're working closely with our customer and relevant stakeholders to prepare for the first delivery, to ensure a successful entry into service of this game-changing aircraft," he adds.
Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that China Southern is due to receive eight 787s by end-2013. It also shows that Hainan Airlines will be the second Chinese operator of the type, with the carrier scheduled to take its first 787 in June, and a total of seven 787s by year-end.
Hainan Airlines has 10 -8s on order.