Fleet Renewal Proceeds with Three New Deliveries
July 8, 2000, Taipei, Taiwan -- To meet the needs of Taiwan's rapid economic growth and the booming air cargo market, China Airlines has decided to take delivery of the nation's first Boeing 747-400 long-range freighter aircraft on July 7, followed by one more each in later July and August. The delivery ceremony for the first aircraft took place in Seattle, with China Airlines Senior Vice President Brian Chou and Boeing President Phil Condit jointly presiding. The event was attended by more than 100 invited guests.
China Airlines signed an agreement with Boeing last year for the purchase of 17 B747-400 freighters--the largest aircraft order ever placed by a Taiwan-based air carrier, and the largest order for the jumbo freighters ever received by the Seattle manufacturer. Following this year's deliveries, the remaining 14 aircraft will all arrive by 2007. These new aircraft will make a major contribution to lowering the age and simplifying the composition of China Airlines’ aircraft fleet, and to reducing operating costs in the areas of aircraft maintenance and pilot transition training.
After the first three B747-400 freighters are delivered, China Airlines officials indicated, the company's all-cargo flights will be increased from the present 41 weekly to 54; trans-Pacific cargo flights will be boosted from 19 to 27, cargo flights on European routes will be upped from eight to 10 per week, and regional flights will be increased from 14 to 17. The B747-400s have a maximum capacity of 115 to 120 tons of cargo per flight; this is an increase of 25 tons over the B747-200 freighters that are currently in use, and the new aircraft will also allow a 15% saving on fuel. The company's overall cargo-carrying capacity will increase more than 20% over the present total. Operation of the new freighters will also permit China Airlines to greatly improve on its current 26% share of the Taiwan air cargo market.
Statistics for 1998 show that China Airlines carried a total of 2,871.11 million ton/kilometers for all of that year, ranking 10th worldwide. The carrier thus became one of the 10 top cargo airlines in the world, along with Lufthansa, Korean Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air France, British Airways, Federal Express, Japan Airlines, KLM, and Cathay Pacific. In 1999 China Airlines’ cargo volume grew to 3,437.28 million ton/kilometers. The introduction of the new B747-400 freighters will not only help the ROC government achieve its goal of developing Taiwan into an Asia-Pacific air transportation hub, but will also help China Airlines realize its own hope of moving up on the global air cargo ranking.