China Airlines, Airbus & Rolls-Royce
Taipei / Taiwan, January 22nd, 2008 - China Airlines today signed a purchase agreement with Airbus to buy twenty new A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft, a brand-new generation of medium-capacity long-haul jetliners. China Airlines Chairman and President Mr. Ringo Chao hosted the ceremony. His executive team, Mr. Su-Chien Hsieh, Senior Vice President of Marketing, and Mr. Derek Cridland, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance, signed the agreement in a ceremony with Airbus and Rolls-Royce.
China Airlines Chairman and President Mr. Ringo Chao addressed the ceremony. “Since December 2006, under the leadership of the former chairman Mr. Philip Wei, China Airlines has been working to evaluate Airbus aircraft as a potential next-generation addition to its fleet,” he said. “In the beginning, China Airlines paused during the dealing process, as the offered package was unsatisfactory.”
China Airlines launched the evaluation in order to keep itself competitive and efficient through the purchase of advanced modern aircraft. For that reason, China Airlines asked senior executives to organize an aircraft evaluation committee to work closely on this program. After a one-year effort, Airbus met China Airlines’ requirements.
“Today Mr. Hsieh and Mr. Cridland represent the company in the signing of the contract,” said Mr. Chao. “They represent the professionalism of our evaluation team, in terms of environmental protection, financing, and technical efficiency. As one of the Asia’s leading airline companies, China Airlines must foresee market trends in order to plan its fleet many years ahead. The 21st Century is the age of efficiency. Because airline manufacturers currently have full order books, we needed to make a timely decision on this purchase, in order to capture the business opportunities. With this purchase order, I am confident that China Airlines will once again prove its determination and ability to better serve its passengers, its shareholders, and society at large.”
The new jetliners will be configured in two classes, with 36 Dynasty Class (Business Class) seats, and 291 Economy Class seats. The new aircraft will provide greater revenue passenger volume than Airbus A340 and A330 aircraft, and will introduce a whole new level of comfort for China Airlines passengers. In terms of pilot operations, the A350 XWB has high commonality with China Airlines’ A340 and A330 aircraft, which will save substantial training costs through a pilot-transitioning program.
The new jetliners will be powered by British Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which represent the latest engine technology. It marks the first time that Taiwan commercial airplanes install Rolls-Royce engines. To ensure the highest maintenance quality, Rolls Royce agreed to provide repair service by signing a Total Care contract, which will reduce operating costs for maintenance, manpower and spare parts, for China Airlines.
The purchase agreement signed by China Airlines includes 14 firm orders and six options, at a total list price of US$ 4.2 billion. The 14 firmly ordered airplanes will be delivered beginning in 2015, replacing six A340-300 and six A330-300 aircraft on mid-haul and long-haul services. The remaining two aircraft will serve future market demand. As for the six options, China Airlines will make that decision later in 2012. If converted to firm orders, delivery would be scheduled for 2019 or 2020.