Taiwan’s China Airlines Orders 16 Boeing 787s

Taiwan’s China Airlines Orders 16 Boeing 787s

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Taiwan-based China Airlines has just announced a multi-billion dollar deal with Boeing to renew part of its wide body fleet.

China Airlines replacing Airbus A330s with Boeing 787s

It has been announced that China Airlines has placed an order with Boeing for the 787. Specifically, the airline ordered 16 787-9s, to be delivered starting in 2025. The airline has the option for a further eight Boeing 787s, as well as the option to convert this order to the higher capacity but shorter range 787-10.

China Airlines intends to use the 16 Boeing 787-9s to replace its fleet of 18 Airbus A330-300s. These are the wide body jets that China Airlines uses for short and medium haul flights, and they’re an average of around 14 years old (and will be 17+ years old by the time that 787 deliveries start).

While the Boeing 787-9 has the range to operate ultra long haul flights, the airline doesn’t intend to use the planes that way, so I’d also expect that the planes will feature some sort of a regional configuration.

China Airlines is the second Taiwanese airline to order the Boeing 787, as EVA Air has both Boeing 787-9s and 787-10s in its fleet.

China Airlines uses Airbus A350s for long haul flights

How the Boeing 787 fits into China Airlines’ fleet

China Airlines has undergone an impressive fleet modernization project in recent years:

  • The airline has replaced its Airbus A340s and Boeing 747s with Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-300ERs
  • The airline is currently replacing its Boeing 737-800s with Airbus A321neos
  • Now the airline will replace its Airbus A330-300s with Boeing 787-9s
China Airlines recently started taking delivery of A321neos

The Boeing 787 is of course a very capable plane and a nice addition to China Airlines’ fleet. Nonetheless I always find it a bit odd when airlines order both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787s. There are synergies from having more of one aircraft type, from crew training, to maintenance, to aircraft utilization.

At the same time, I can appreciate that these decisions are often made independently (since different parts of the fleet are being replaced), and I assume there were some advantages of going with Boeing here, whether it be price, financing, or delivery timeline.

Bottom line

China Airlines has placed an order for 16 Boeing 787-9s, to be delivered starting in 2025. These planes will be used to replace existing Airbus A330-300s on high capacity short and medium haul routes. China Airlines is a pleasant airline to fly with, and it’s nice to see the airline completing the last step of its fleet modernization project.

What do you make of China Airlines ordering the Boeing 787?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Levin Yeo Guest

    Every other airline is going to replace 330 with 787 and 777 with 350s. What's so difficult to understand?

    EVA Air should be seen as a THAI carrier. Thailand has historically been a neutral Ally-Axis nation and the West especially US can feel iffy about Thailand's loyalties, making THAI Airways ambitions for US flights virtually impossible. That combined with FAA refusal to lift Thailand out of Cat 2... Don't be surprised if they switch to...

    Every other airline is going to replace 330 with 787 and 777 with 350s. What's so difficult to understand?

    EVA Air should be seen as a THAI carrier. Thailand has historically been a neutral Ally-Axis nation and the West especially US can feel iffy about Thailand's loyalties, making THAI Airways ambitions for US flights virtually impossible. That combined with FAA refusal to lift Thailand out of Cat 2... Don't be surprised if they switch to Sino Russo aerospace altogether.

    China Airlines Boeing widebodies tend to work the trunk and shuttle routes to Hong Kong and Shanghai especially. However, I'm going to bet that they'll be ultimately delivered in tigerair Taiwan livery and takeover most of the Scoot flying out of Taiwan. This will allow them the flexibility to easily switch the 787 to do Mainland China flights and the Mainland is fine with tigerair Taiwan.

  2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    "I always find it a bit odd when airlines order both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787s."

    While there's a lot of overlap, a 254tonne 789 or 781 (both share the same) can also have vast differences with a 280tonne A359.

    Not the least of which is weight, with the 787s being far lighter. But the A359 is significantly more capable, ad SQ demonstrates: able to do 17.5hrs with full load and cargo on a...

    "I always find it a bit odd when airlines order both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787s."

    While there's a lot of overlap, a 254tonne 789 or 781 (both share the same) can also have vast differences with a 280tonne A359.

    Not the least of which is weight, with the 787s being far lighter. But the A359 is significantly more capable, ad SQ demonstrates: able to do 17.5hrs with full load and cargo on a route like LAX-SIN (where the -ULRs have not been used for years), whereas the 789 couldn't duplicate such without significant last-minute adjustments to passenger weight, and no hope of consistent cargo.

    But 781 has insanely good economics on short distances, which the A359's dry weight makes difficult to achieve in a standard configuration: though 10abreast is an option, unlike on the 787.

    So yeah, in sum, it makes perfect sense for airlines to have both, just like it so often did for airlines to have both the A330 and 777 twenty years ago; which is why so many of them..... did.

  3. Brianair Guest

    Does anyone know what that red oval logo with what looks like white Chinese characters inside, and is located next to the "CHINA AIRLINES" titles on their planes, is supposed to mean? I see it next to the plum blossom logo in some contexts. I can't find any information on what it is online.

    1. S_LEE Member

      It's a stamp logo with its shortened name.
      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E8%8F%AF%E8%88%AA%E7%AF%86%E6%9B%B8.png

      China Airlines' full name in Traditional Chinese is "中(Zhong)華(Hua)航(Hang)空(Kong)", and it's often called "華(Hua)航(Hang)" in short.
      It's like ANA is often called "Zennikku" in Japanese, which is short for "Zennipponkuyu."

      "華航" in seal script with a stamp shape is the logo you were looking for.

  4. Kev Guest

    It's all political. Despite a public company, Taiwan government is the biggest shareholder of China Airlines, and still has the biggest influence on the company's decision making. In the meantime, US has been pressuring Taiwan to make purchase of Boeing planes. Therefore, China Airlines had no choice but swallow it.

  5. Jkjkjk Guest

    Republic of China’s China Airlines.
    There correct it for ya… Learn some facts will ya.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      The title is needlessly loaded, very loaded.

      People who can't tell the difference between China Airlines and Air China probably doesn't care to know whether they ordered a 787 or a Dreamliner.

      How about KMT's China Airlines?
      But politically safe should be Chinese Taipei's China Airlines.

  6. Creditian Guest

    339 and 359 can’t land TSA, CI can only replace 333 with 789, no other choice.

    1. Louis Guest

      Maximum wingspan allowed for TSA ramp is 60m, while 339 and 359 both have wingspan at 64m

    2. Jim Guest

      Even before the pandemic, CI only served two destinations (HND and PVG) using 333 from TSA base. All the rest of 333 were stationed at TPE. So this cannot be the main reason they have to replace all 333 with 789.

    3. Louis Guest

      CI serves HND and SHA (not PVG) using 333, specifically targeting business travellers who prefer closer airport to the town centre. With high yield and strict slot restriction in HND and SHA, it is unlikely for CI to drop the market, nor downsizing HND/SHA to 321neo with more frequency.

      So, CI must find a replacement for 333 to serve TSA, and the only option is 787 series for them. While only 2 787 will...

      CI serves HND and SHA (not PVG) using 333, specifically targeting business travellers who prefer closer airport to the town centre. With high yield and strict slot restriction in HND and SHA, it is unlikely for CI to drop the market, nor downsizing HND/SHA to 321neo with more frequency.

      So, CI must find a replacement for 333 to serve TSA, and the only option is 787 series for them. While only 2 787 will be based in TSA, this 2 plane plays an important role for deciding the new regional model.

  7. tom Guest

    The main factor here is political. Taiwan needs to stay in US good books more than ever, hence a Boeing order.

  8. KATA Member

    With the A330s and 737-800s out, China Airlines will have one of Asia’s nicest fleet wide J-products! Well, assuming that the rest of the A321neos are delivered with flatbeds.

    About time they order a replacement for their ageing A330s, although the 787s can’t come soon enough.

    1. KATA Member

      In my opinion, Singapore’s long-haul J seat is rather uncomfortable given the awkward sleeping position and the hardness of the seat surface.

    2. JS Guest

      Mrs. Pelosi completed the sale.

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tom Guest

The main factor here is political. Taiwan needs to stay in US good books more than ever, hence a Boeing order.

2
gautamkhurana03 New Member

True

0
Levin Yeo Guest

Every other airline is going to replace 330 with 787 and 777 with 350s. What's so difficult to understand? EVA Air should be seen as a THAI carrier. Thailand has historically been a neutral Ally-Axis nation and the West especially US can feel iffy about Thailand's loyalties, making THAI Airways ambitions for US flights virtually impossible. That combined with FAA refusal to lift Thailand out of Cat 2... Don't be surprised if they switch to Sino Russo aerospace altogether. China Airlines Boeing widebodies tend to work the trunk and shuttle routes to Hong Kong and Shanghai especially. However, I'm going to bet that they'll be ultimately delivered in tigerair Taiwan livery and takeover most of the Scoot flying out of Taiwan. This will allow them the flexibility to easily switch the 787 to do Mainland China flights and the Mainland is fine with tigerair Taiwan.

0
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