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