Taipei, China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan's two major carriers, said Wednesday it will acquire a fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft and Boeing 777 freighters for its passenger and cargo flights, respectively, in a bid to become more competitive amid rising fuel cost.
After assessing all the relevant aircraft features and considering the congestion at neighboring airports in Asia, CAL said, it has selected the Airbus A321neo as the optimum aircraft for its regional narrow-body flights.
Starting in 2021, the carrier said, it will deploy 14 leased A321neo aircraft on its long-haul and regional routes, which will allow better economics and operational efficiency.
The carrier said it will simultaneously place firm orders for 11 aircraft and options for five more.
The replacement program is in line with global trends in the aviation industry, CAL said, citing an International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast that the number of global travelers will continue to grow over the next 20 years.
In addition, the airline said, it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to launch a 777 freighter project, under which CAL will place a firm order for three aircraft and an option for another three.
Compared to its 747-400 freighters now in operation, CAL said, the 777 jets are 20 percent more fuel efficient, which will allow airlines to be more competitive amid high fuel costs.
CAL said it plans to operate the 777 freighters mainly on its European and North American routes to meet growing demand, and also to replace some older 747-400s currently in service.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel