APEX Insight: Xiamen Airlines is promoting environmental awareness with its United Dream aircraft, hoping that passengers recycle the lessons learned in flight once they’re back on Earth.
Xiamen Airlines unveiled “Youth and the Earth” as the latest theme for the airline’s “United Dream” aircraft, which flies in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The launch was planned to coincide with International Youth Day, and promotes the role that youth have played in conservation and environmental initiatives.
Passengers aboard Youth and the Earth-themed flights will be provided with amenity kits that include an eco-friendly tote, a notebook, SDG keychain, and water bottle, all made from recyclable materials. The in-flight meal service promotes the “Life Below Water” SDG with shell-shaped chocolates and an aqua-colored design.
“It is impressive how Xiamen Airlines is actively taking on social responsibility to promote the idea of sustainable development,” said He Miao from Friends of Nature, China’s first nationwide environmental non-governmental organization, in a press release. “On [the] United Dream aircraft, we urge more people to become green citizens.”
Information about the United Nation’s 17 SDGs is displayed on stickers placed on cabin walls and overhead bins, and distributed with take-home materials, such as a bilingual color wheel. The United Nations first adopted the SDGs in September 2015 as a part of a sustainable development agenda that aims to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.”
On social media, the Chinese carrier has promoted standout youth who have made notable contributions fighting climate change. Among them is Topher White, founder of Rainforest Connection, a nonprofit that uses solar-powered recycled cell phones to alert authorities of illegal logging activities. Twenty-four-year-old Boyan Slat, the youngest-ever recipient of the UN Champion of the Earth Award, founded The Ocean Cleanup in an endeavor to rid oceans of plastic waste.
Xiamen Airlines is the first airline to support the United Nations’ SDGs. The commitment was formalized in February 2017, with an official agreement signing at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft was painted with a blue United Dream-themed livery, delivered in North Charleston, South Carolina, in January and arrived in Xiamen in March. The aircraft has already flown to international destinations such as New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Beijing, and the airline says that it intends to keep the aircraft on global routes to help spread the sustainable message.
The airline plans to continue to promote sustainable development with more themed-flights in the future. Founded in 1984, Xiamen Airlines is based in Chinese coastal city Xiamen in Fujian Province, and in March added its 200th airline to its fleet. According to China Daily, the airline has ambitious plans to operate 560 aircraft by 2035, which would make the airline more competitive with China Southern Airlines, Air China and China Eastern Airlines, currently the top three airlines in the region.
On August 17, a Xiamen Boeing 737-800 crash-landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the Philippines. None of the 157 passengers or eight crew on board were harmed. The incident, which caused severe delays at the Philippines’ busiest airport, is currently being investigated by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.