Hainan wants 30 787-9 and will order ASAP if it wants a delivery completion by 2021. It has to order in the near future to achieve a delivery goal it has stated.
WSJ: March 25, 2015 Jon Ostrower at firstname.lastname@example.org
"The airline said it plans to sign an agreement with the U.S. plane maker for 270-to-290 seat 787-9 Dreamliners for delivery by 2021 valued at as much as $7.7 billion at list prices, though customers regularly secure steep discounts."
The deal mechanics are already in process as it listed the "works in process filing report" for a proposed 30 787-9 in its stock exchange footnotes.
WSJ: March 25, 2015
"Hainan announced the pending deal in a regulatory filing. A Boeing spokesman said the company couldn't comment on negotiations with its airline customers. The airline has taken delivery of nine of 10 Dreamliners it currently has on order, according to Boeing."
The importance of this intent underscores the order book dynamics that are now in play. A shrinking order book and slots have emerge as the motivation for jumping in with 30 787-9's with order is an urgency by Hainan. The Opportunity index has risen to a level where airlines are now in the backrooms negotiating for the existence of 787-9 slots. Opportunity index during 2014 was dead, and now after 114 787 deliveries from 2014 and proving the steady start in 2015. The light at the end of proverbial tunnel is well lit for wide body customers like Hainan who has jumped first. Others will follow as the pace will quicken during 2015.
WSJ: March 25, 2015
Many of the Dreamliners ordered by Hainan will come from delivery positions once reserved for United Continental Holdings Inc., the two people said. The U.S. airline is in negotiations with Boeing and engine maker General Electric Co. for a crop of larger 777-300ER jets converted from a portion of its Dreamliner order now going to Hainan, but hasn't yet been completed.