By Will Lee
China Airlines Will Receive A321neo in September
According to local media, Taiwan’s China Airlines will modernize its fleet by adding 11 Airbus A321neo aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in September. The brand-new aircraft is set to enter services as soon as October. In addition, the airline expects the rest of the aircraft will be delivered very soon. The airline confirmed the deal of 11 A321neo and leased 14 of the type before the pandemic.
China Airlines first considered replacing Boeing 737-800 in 2013. According to the airline, it owns 15 Boeing 737-800s, and the aircraft’s median age is 10 years old. China Airlines will mainly operate Airbus aircraft on its passenger routes in the future.
The airline expected the new aircraft can meet the future travel demand and expect that travel restrictions will be eased after rolling out of the vaccination programs globally.
The airline’s new narrow-body aircraft is forecasted to increase income by adding 12 business class seats, which tend to generate more revenue than economy seats. Also, the economy class will feature the Audio and Video On Demand (AVOD) services to meet passenger demand.
The new A321neos are expected to operate to Japan and South Korea’s second tier cities. The first A321neo is believed to operate between Taiwan; Hong Kong and Okinawa, Japan as soon as October.
China Airlines is expected to be a tough competition after purchasing the new aircraft in Taiwan. EVA Air, StarLux Airlines and Tiger Air, China Airlines’ no-frills carrier, also own A321 series aircraft.
China Airlines is not only planning to enhance its passenger flighta. Earlier, the airline has taken delivery of three Boeing 777Fs to increase its cargo capacity. The first cargo aircraft was delivered last year. The airline owns 18 Boeing 747-400F cargo aircraft but will retire the planes in the near future. The cargo flights have been the airline’s the main income source lately.
Although the pandemic is far from over, but Taiwan has developed a different travel trend amid the pandemic in the wake of the shortage of vaccine in Taiwan. Taiwanese people have returned to the skies to go to U.S for the Covid vaccine. Recently, Guam, the U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, have introduced Air V&V (vacation and vaccination) trips to Taiwan, per The Guardian. The Pacific island has fully vaccinated 75% of its population.
The price tag of the Air V&V package tour starts at $1,400 and includes air ticket to Guam, hotel accommodations and tours. The customers can receive Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson shots from the clinic. The consumers can stay in Guam for five to 22 days. According to local media, some companies even have offered their staff to take the vaccine in Guam.
“This program captures a unique demographic of travellers around the world that are tired of waiting to get vaccinated in this pandemic,” Carl Gutierrez, President of the Guam Visitors Bureau, said.