HONG KONG—China's aviation regulator has granted approval for Boeing Co.'s BA -0.84%787 aircraft to begin commercial service with the nation's airlines, people familiar with the situation said Thursday.
The move will help Chinese carriers to speed up the replacement of their older planes and expand their fleet to meet the nation's rising demand for air traffic.
Chinese airlines have ordered a total of 35 Boeing 787s, including 10 each for Hainan Airlines Co. 600221.SH -1.02%and its bigger rival China Southern Airlines Co., 600029.SH -0.86%Boeing said.
"The regulator has issued an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft today," a person familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. China Southern will be the first Chinese carrier to receive the Dreamliner jets, though it wasn't clear when the delivery would take place.
Guangzhou-based China Southern, the nation's largest carrier by fleet size, had expected to take delivery of the first jet last year after several rounds of production delays, but the plan was held up because Chinese authorities hadn't issued an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft.
The grounding in January of the global 787 fleet after lithium-ion batteries burned on two planes further delayed Chinese regulatory approval.