MIAT Mongolian Airlines is set to receive its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft. It will enable the Ulaanbaatar based airline to fly to European and North American cities, opening up a whole raft of new possibilities for intrepid travellers.
The aircraft will join MIAT Mongolian Airlines through a lease agreement with Los Angeles based Air Lease Corporation. The plane is due for delivery in the northern spring of 2021.
Boeing is delighted
It is only a single aircraft, but Boeing, no doubt happy these days with anything reflects well on them, was positively effusive. A Boeing spokesperson said in a statement;
“It will be wonderful to see the 787 Dreamliner in MIAT Mongolian Airlines’ livery flying in and out of Ulaanbaatar and connecting Mongolia with key destinations across Asia and Europe. The airline has continued to build on its proud aviation history by modernizing its fleet and operations. We are honoured MIAT has selected the 787 and its superior fuel efficiency and range to profitably grow their international network.
“We are delighted to partner with leading lessor ALC, which has a tremendous portfolio of 787 Dreamliners and other advanced jets, to open a new chapter in MIAT’s history.”
Not familiar with MIAT Mongolian Airlines?
Many readers will not be entirely au fait with MIAT Mongolian Airlines. Perhaps, like myself, you’ve neglected to join their frequent flyer program, Blue Sky Mongolia. The airline, based at Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan International Airport has a fleet of six aircraft, including three Boeing 737-800s, two Boeing 767-300ERs and a single Boeing 737 MAX 8.
It’s a rather conventional collection of planes and not nearly as interesting as the Polikarpov Po-2s, Tupolev Tu-154s and Yakovlev Yak-12s Mongolian Airlines used to fly.
The airline serves cities in China, Berlin’s Tegel Airport, Tokyo Narita, Moscow, Busan and Seoul. It has codeshare agreements with Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, and Aeroflot. The new 787-9 will allow MIAT Mongolian Airlines to stretch its wings a little further. They plan to launch flights into the United States.
Battur Davaakhuu, President and CEO, MIAT Mongolian Airlines said in a statement;
“Our vision is to become a globally recognized Mongolian national flag carrier, and we are making a significant step forward by adding the first 787-9 Dreamliner to our fleet.
“The Mongolian Dreamliner will fly our passengers direct and in unmatched comfort to their dream destinations. Today is a proud day for MIAT and for all Mongolians.”
I rather like that term, the Mongolian Dreamliner. It might even catch on.
What to expect in the cabin?
According to CH-Aviation, the plane will seat 313 passengers across three classes. There will be 16 seats in business class, 21 seats in premium economy, and 276 seats in economy class.
There’s not a lot of hard information around on what the hard product might be like. With 16 seats in the business class cabin, four rows in a 1-2-1 configuration might be predicted. With 21 seats in premium economy, perhaps three rows in a 2-3-2 configuration. In economy class, you might be inclined to expect the standard Boeing 787-9 3-3-3 configuration.
The current MIAT Mongolian Airlines long haul aircraft, the 767-300ER, gets a mixed reception from many reviewers. The seats are okay but the soft product needs work. But many of these reviewers are westerners, and Mongolian Airlines is decidedly non-western. That’s what makes it so interesting. I, for one, would love to try the Mongolian Airlines 787-9 when it takes to the skies.