CAL to fly new A350 on Asian routes

A new Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) delivered Friday to China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan's leading international carriers, will be first used on flights to Hong Kong and Osaka, according to CAL Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (???).

The carrier will then start flying the aircraft to Amsterdam, Vienna and Rome from 2017, Ho said during an aircraft delivery ceremony in the French city of Toulouse that was attended by Didier Evrard, head of programmes at Airbus.

CAL is the first Taiwanese carrier to procure an A350, lauded as the world's latest-generation airliner and the newest member of the Airbus' product family. CAL will have 13 more delivered by the end of 2018.

The new planes could improve CAL's performance, especially in Europe, Ho said, explaining that among the 1.22 million passengers traveling between Taiwan and Europe in 2015, CAL claimed a 21 percent market share.

While nearly 60 percent of those passengers made transits during their trips, the long-haul, medium capacity A350s could contribute to more flexible flight operations, Ho said.

In addition, CAL flights to Amsterdam and Rome will become non-stop in 2017 at the earliest, thanks to the A350s, he said.

According to CAL, the A350-900 XWB has the most advanced production technology and its high-end production materials have resulted in a lighter and safer model.

In addition, the eco-friendly aircraft is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent, which will help lower maintenance costs, CAL said.

The first A350-900s, which will carry the airline's plum blossom logo on the tail, has a seating capacity of 306 -- 32 in business class, 31 in premium economy, and 243 in economy, the carrier said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel