China Airlines Acquires Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350

China Airlines Acquires Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350

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China Airlines is expanding its Airbus A350 fleet, as the airline is picking up a former Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) jet. This is the second airline to do so, as Malaysia Airlines recently made a similar move.

China Airlines acquires used Airbus A350-900

In July 2022, Scandinavian Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It’s now expected that Air France-KLM will invest in the company, and that the airline will join SkyTeam. SAS has been trying to cut costs, and that has included getting rid of some jets, including ending leases on a couple of of its new Airbus A350s. As you’d expect, these planes are now finding new homes.

China Airlines intends to shortly start flying a former SAS Airbus A350. Specifically, the jet that China Airlines should take delivery of has the registration code SE-RSA. This is still quite new aircraft, as it’s just a few years old.

Before this acquisition, China Airlines had a fleet of 14 Airbus A350s, so this will bring the carrier’s fleet to 15 of these jets. It’s not entirely clear for how long China Airlines will fly this aircraft, though I imagine it’s not a short-term lease.

China Airlines is picking up a former SAS A350

What this A350 means for China Airlines passengers

How does this former Scandinavian Airlines A350 compare to China Airlines’ other A350s? As far as I know, there are no plans to reconfigure the interior of this A350.

China Airlines A350s have a total of 306 seats, including 32 business class seats, 31 premium economy seats, and 243 economy class seats.

China Airlines A350 business product

The SAS A350 has a total of 300 seats, including 40 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 228 economy seats.

Scandinavian Airlines A350 business product

To compare a couple of key differences of the two products:

  • China Airlines has reverse herringbone seats in business class on A350s, while Scandinavian Airlines has a staggered configuration; personally I prefer China Airlines’ product, but both are good
  • China Airlines has a better premium economy product, as the carrier’s A350s have the cabin in a 2-3-2 configuration, compared to Scandinavian Airlines’ 2-4-2 configuration

You can read my review of China Airlines’ A350 business class here, and read my review of Scandinavian Airlines’ A350 business class here.

Former SAS A350 will fly to Rome & Singapore

So, what are China Airlines’ plans for this new Airbus A350? Given that the plane has a different configuration, it’ll fly specific routes, and won’t just be cycled throughout the system. As flagged by AeroRoutes, you can expect the plane to enter service as of early March 2024, initially flying from Taipei (TPE) to both Rome (FCO) and Singapore (SIN) on select frequencies.

Scandinavian Airlines A350 business product

Bottom line

China Airlines is acquiring one former Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A350, which will join the carrier’s fleet shortly. SAS has been trying to cut costs due to its bankruptcy protection, so we’re now seeing both Malaysia Airlines and China Airlines pick up these planes.

This has some passenger experience implications, as the interior of this jet is a bit different than China Airlines’ standard A350.

What do you make of China Airlines picking up a former Scandinavian Airlines A350?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Max B Guest

    Flew on B-18919 on the FCO-TPE-FCO flight last week and confirm that the cabin configuration is still the SAS one. Very limited adjustments made to the branding. Traveled in business class, so that experince was still fine.

  2. SQ452 Guest

    Sitting on this plane now. B-18919 is the registration and they seem to be operating exclusively on Taipei-Rome and Taipei-Singapore sectors. Can confirm the interior is decidedly SAS, no changes except some minimal China Airlines branding on headrests and IFE. If you’re in Y+ this would be a downgrade on this aircraft.

  3. William Guest

    If the config doesn't change, does it mean it would still be the same look as the Scandinavian airline or does the look of interior change to match the China Airline interior look?

  4. Natalia Lim Guest

    I thought China Airlines eventually acquired one Ex-SAS’s A350-900 from lessor unread of two.

  5. Bethany Beshoff Guest

    Great pieces of equipment,arguably the best currently flying

  6. S2G Guest

    One could see that SAS was having troubles. I flew with them last year OSL/CPH/VNO and service was way below standard for business class. When we parked (in the rain!) at VNO, no umbrellas were on hand and passengers had to run from the plane to a bus that took us to the terminal. Everyone was soaked and no one at SAS seemed to care.

    1. C-P Guest

      I'm not a big fan of SAS' service either, but considering SAS doesn't offer business class on any of their intra-Europe flights, I'm unsure why you were disappointed with not receiving business class service.

      And which airline has "umbrellas at hand" at remote stands? Where would they store them? Have someone run up the stairs with 200 umbrellas?

      May I suggest booking the service class you prefer to travel in on your next travels, and...

      I'm not a big fan of SAS' service either, but considering SAS doesn't offer business class on any of their intra-Europe flights, I'm unsure why you were disappointed with not receiving business class service.

      And which airline has "umbrellas at hand" at remote stands? Where would they store them? Have someone run up the stairs with 200 umbrellas?

      May I suggest booking the service class you prefer to travel in on your next travels, and bring your own foldable umbrella.

    2. OSS-A Guest

      1. SAS offers Premium economy, not business class on intra-European flights, thus no C-class service should be expected.

      2. Umbrellas... get real. I suggest you bring your own small collapsable one, which takes up very little space in your hand luggage.

  7. Matthias Wagner Guest

    It’s not entirely correct just to say this is due to “cut costs”. SAS have been clear that this is due to canceled routes to Asia following pandemic and the war. They have cut down on frequencies to PVG and HND and haven’t restarted PEK and HKG, so they had a surplus of aircraft’s.

  8. CPH-Flyer Gold

    I think these aircraft were returned to the lessor via chapter 11 quite a while ago. They have not flown anywhere for the last 90 days.

  9. Daniel Guest

    Sad to see these birds leave the SAS fleet, but good to see them fly with respectable airlines. I've got nothing but good things to say about the cabins.

  10. RF Diamond

    It's good that these A350s will be flying again.

  11. Nikojas Guest

    I thought SAS got these A350s to replace more expensive to operate A340s. How does getting rid of its more efficient aircraft help in the plan to be more profitable? Slightly sarcastic but also genuinely wondering?

    1. VladG Diamond

      These A350s were leased if I'm not mistaken, and it's a very expensive plane to lease. Considering their network to the Far East got butchered due to the closure of Russian airspace, it only makes sense to get rid of the most expensive planes in the fleet, efficient or not.

  12. T- Guest

    All is fair here. I think it is clever to buy previously owned airplanes. In my opinion, the SAS interiors are very elegant and calming. I imagine that the buyer received incredible value for the purchase of the a350’s. This is a terrific purchase. They will also benefit from their relatively fast entry into service.

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C-P Guest

I'm not a big fan of SAS' service either, but considering SAS doesn't offer business class on any of their intra-Europe flights, I'm unsure why you were disappointed with not receiving business class service. And which airline has "umbrellas at hand" at remote stands? Where would they store them? Have someone run up the stairs with 200 umbrellas? May I suggest booking the service class you prefer to travel in on your next travels, and bring your own foldable umbrella.

1
Max B Guest

Flew on B-18919 on the FCO-TPE-FCO flight last week and confirm that the cabin configuration is still the SAS one. Very limited adjustments made to the branding. Traveled in business class, so that experince was still fine.

0
SQ452 Guest

Sitting on this plane now. B-18919 is the registration and they seem to be operating exclusively on Taipei-Rome and Taipei-Singapore sectors. Can confirm the interior is decidedly SAS, no changes except some minimal China Airlines branding on headrests and IFE. If you’re in Y+ this would be a downgrade on this aircraft.

0
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