China Airlines prepares to join Kangaroo Route

China Airlines Airbus A350-900 B-18903. (Helmy oved/Commons Wikimedia)
China Airlines Airbus A350-900 B-18903. (Helmy oved/Commons Wikimedia)

China Airlines says its upcoming move to offer double daily services between Sydney and its Taipei hub is part of efforts to support new services to London Gatwick.

The Skyteam alliance member will join the plethora of carriers on the so-called Kangaroo Route linking Australia and the United Kingdom when its new four times weekly Taipei-London Gatwick flights kick off on December 1 2017 with Airbus A350-900s featuring the airline’s latest cabin products.

On the same day, China Airlines is increasing its Taipei-Sydney schedule from four times a week with Airbus A330s currently to twice daily. The route will also be operated by the A350-900, offering passengers a consistent product all the way from Sydney to London Gatwick.

China Airlines’ A350-900s are configured with 306 seats comprising 32 in business with direct aisle access for every passenger, 31 in premium economy in a 2-3-2 layout and 243 in economy at nine-abreast. The economy cabin also features its “family couch” product that was invented by Air New Zealand where three seats in economy can be converted to a flat bed.

By contrast, the A330-300s currently used to Sydney have either 307 or 313 seats in a two-class format, with business class an angled-lie flat seat in a 2-2-2 layout that does not offer direct aisle access for every passenger.

The airline has taken delivery of eight A350-900s with a further six on order. Two A350-900s were due to be delivered in November, allowing for the Sydney route to be upgraded.

China Airlines general manager, strategic planning department, corporate development office James Chung said the Taiwanese flag carrier had been heavily promoting its wider Asian and Australian market in the UK ahead of the London Gatwick service kicking off.

“From December we will also have the new London route, so yes, China Airlines from this December we are joining the Kangaroo competition,” Chung told reporters at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Assembly of Presidents in Taipei on Wednesday.

“We know there is much competition. But at China Airlines we believe we can try to target some niche markets.”

The schedule change for Sydney will be the latest in a series of recent tweaks to its Oceania route network, with China Airlines ending its Sydney-Auckland tag flight in July, while Sydney-Christchurch and Melbourne-Auckland were also dropped.

On a more positive note, Chung confirmed China Airlines would boost its Taipei-Brisbane-Auckland service from five times a week currently to daily by the start of December with the A350-900, replacing A330-300 equipment on the route.

And as more A350-900s get delivered, the A330-300s used on Melbourne-Taipei were also expected to be replaced with the next generation Airbus widebody.

“In the next year we have another four A350s that will be coming, so gradually we will be changing A330 services for this route to the A350,” Chung said.

Qantas codeshares on China Airlines’ Australia-Taiwan services. Australia and Taiwan have an open skies air services agreement.

Asked about the prospects of bringing in more feed for the London flight by offering a nonstop flight to Auckland, compared with the one-stop options via Australia being offered now, Chung said New Zealand was challenging from an aircraft utilisation perspective.

“It’s not easy to handle even a daily fight to Auckland,” Chung said.

China Airlines’ Sydney-Taipei schedule from December 1 2017
Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

CI55 Taipei-Sydney

Daily 

07:40

19:55

CI51 Taipei-Sydney

Daily

23:30

11:50+1

CI56 Sydney-Taipei

Daily

14:00

20:20

CI52 Sydney-Taipei

Daily

22:10

04:30+1

Comments

  1. Lechuga says

    So another potential A350 to Melbourne. Would push them up to 4 different airlines flying then here. That’s actually pretty good.

  2. Oskar says

    CI53 on the TPE-BNE-AKL route is currently 4x weekly not 5x weekly. It will be daily as of 1 DEC 17

  3. Oskar says

    AS well as this Melbourne was never served by CI to AKL. The correct routing was TPE-MEL-CHC seasonally

  4. says

    And we have overpaid CEO’s in Virgin trying to compete! Come on!
    Brand new aircraft and the willingness to pay tech-crews what they are worth (although some pay even more).

  5. Thatcher says

    It’s a shame SYD is too big / busy / constrained to get more A350, they are a lovely aircraft to fly in. I have had the pleasure twice now of flying on A350, will seek them every time in the future.

    China Airlines will need to examine their fares if they wish to compete as a one-stop option though – the few times I have considered them they have been substantially more expensive than other full-service options.

  6. Tim says

    The choice, buy a cheaper ticket with China Airlines which has a terrible safety record, or pay a bit more and fly with the roo.

  7. Tom says

    yes Tim. Maybe you forget the red rat landing in BKK golf course & righting off the aircraft, but instead having it repaired cheaply in China.

  8. John says

    Tim,

    There are plenty of airlines much better than QF. eg. SQ the best airline in the world by far.

    You could NOT pay me to fly QF.

  9. Paddy says

    Come on John, you must be joking.Look up CASA’s response to SQ’s corrosion issue in Perth many years ago.

  10. Tim says

    Gee, not much support for our local airlines out there. Yes I rember the gold course incident back in 1999, just like I also remember the China Airlines incident in Nagoya a couple of years early in which most of the passengers where killed. I must admit that not all of China Airlines incidents have resulted in loss of life, they did manage to evacuate all the passengers onboard the China Airlines flight that burst into flames after landing in Okinawa back in 2007.

    Yes they do seem to have improved safety wise over the years.

    And yes SQ is a good airline, a part from the one time they tried to take of on a closed runway, and the other including crash involving its subsidiary Silk Air. I will admit that SQ is one of my preferred airlines to fly with when heading in the general direction of Singapore. But happy to fly Qantas any day of the week and support local industry where I can, rather than sending my money overseas.