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China Airlines announces Airbus A330 acquisition

Travel News Asia 24 December 2002

China Airlines has announced its acquisition of 12 Airbus A330 aircraft, and a further six options, as part of the carrier's long-term fleet renewal programme. This is the airline's first A330 order, following the acquisition of the longer-range sister aircraft, the A340, in 1999.

The A330-300s are scheduled for delivery from mid-2004 through to 2007 and will be deployed on the carrier's regional network. China Airlines already operates the long-haul A340-300, the first of which entered service with the airline in 2001.

"The A330 will offer us the ability to further maximise profit potential while offering passengers the highest standards of in-flight comfort available today," said China Airlines' President Philip Wei. "Significant commercial benefits will be derived by operating both the A330 and A340 in the fleet."

The A330 will enable China Airlines to take advantage of the inherent operational commonality which it shares with the A340, a feature unique to Airbus' family concept, thanks to its fly-by-wire controls. This factor enables China Airlines to benefit from the aircraft's Cross Crew Qualification and Mixed Fleet Flying capabilities. Maintenance is further streamlined as the A330 and A340 are essentially one aircraft type. Commonality also extends to the cabin, where each business class passenger enjoys either a window or aisle seat, and no economy class passenger is further than one seat away from an aisle, offering a unique level of comfort.

"We are delighted that the A330 will join the longer range A340 at China Airlines," Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Nol Forgeard. "In the current challenging operating environment, airlines now have to focus more than ever on the right mix of routes and the selection of the right aircraft to serve these routes, the A330 is the ideal aircraft for China Airlines and will enable the airline to take advantage of the inherent commonality with the A340."

Since it entered service with the airline in 2001, the A340-300 represents the smoothest entry of a new aircraft type in the airline's history. China Airlines has one of the highest A340 utilisation rates in the world at 15 hours 19 minutes per day. On time departure reliability is 98.6% - very high for a long-range aircraft. The A340 is also operated on the airline's longest non-stop sector from Taipei to New York-JFK.

Offering the highest degree of operational flexibility and economy combined with unmatched passenger comfort, Airbus' A330/A340 Family of aircraft has established market leadership in the 240-380 seat category with 751 total orders from 63 customers to date.

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