At 12PM on September 30, China Airlines held the handover ceremony for the its first A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) passenger aircraft at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France. The ceremony was co-hosted by China Airlines Chairman Nuan-Hsuan Ho and Airbus Executive Vice President Didier Evrard. Guests on the day included Ambassador Ming-Chung Chang from the Taipei Representative Office in France. The delivery made China Airlines the first airline in Taiwan to operate this model.
The new Airbus A350-900 XWB passenger aircraft has been praised for being the “most high-tech, most energy-efficient, most eco-friendly, most spacious and least noisy" green passenger aircraft in the world. 70% of the aircraft is made from all new composite materials for improved flight safety; the enhanced cabin environment with a 30 air changes an hour offers improved passenger comfort; the latest Rolls-Royce engines reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by over 25%. Each aircraft is therefore expected to save China Airlines up to NT$70 million a year. The cabin noise is just 57 dB as well making it quite possibly the quietest passenger aircraft in the industry.
During his speech, Chairman Nuan-Hsuan Ho noted that China Airlines first announced that it will be introducing fourteen A350-900 XWB passenger aircraft back in 2008. The first aircraft will be delivered today and the remainder will be progressively delivered between 2016 and 2018. Apart from being the first airline in Taiwan to adopt this new aircraft, the introduction of the A350 will reduce the average age of the China Airlines passenger aircraft on long-haul routes to just 3.6 years from 2017 onwards as part of the progressive fleet revitalization strategy.
On the market side, in 2015, there are approximately 1.22 million travelers between Taiwan and Europe. China Airlines represented 21% of the total market giving it the highest market share of the Taiwan-Europe routes. China Airlines currently flies to European destinations such as Frankfurt, Vienna, Amsterdam and Rome. Nevertheless, nearly 60% of all people traveling between Taiwan and Europe transited through a third country. The delivery of the medium-capacity, long-range A350 aircraft will help China Airlines compete more effectively in the European market.
The A350 is slated to fly to destinations such as Amsterdam, Rome and Vienna. Amsterdam and Rome in particular will become a non-stop flight greatly reducing the travel time about 4 hours between Taiwan and Europe. By 2017, there will be up to 16 flights a week with at least 2 direct flights to Europe every day. China Airlines will therefore be the airline with the most direct flights between Taiwan and Europe. Apart from the direct flight destinations, China Airlines and its partner airlines will also provide connecting flights to four additional European destinations with 67 code-share flights a week. This will provide Taiwanese travelers with the most extensive airline network for European trips, consolidate China Airlines' leadership in the Taiwan-Europe market and attract more passengers traveling to Europe for business and tourism.
The first A350-900 XWB delivered today is expected to arrive at Taoyuan International Airport at 12 noon Taipei time on October 1. Once it completes the necessary preparations, the aircraft will begin flying on regional routes at the end of October; in January next year, China Airlines will begin operating the A350-900 XWB on European routes such as Amsterdam, Vienna and Rome. The China Airlines Group currently operates a fleet of 110 aircraft. The second to forth A350-900 XWB is scheduled to be delivery before the end of the year. The introduction of the A350 will enable China Airlines to build up its European network and expand its passenger services. It also symbolizes the revitalization of the China Airlines fleet and the continued evolution of its cabin product. (2016/09/30)