China Airlines’s Australian network has become an all-Airbus A350-900 operation following the upgauging of its Brisbane and Melbourne services to the next generation widebody.
Flight CI57, operated by A350-900 B-18909, landed at Tullamarine a little after 1200 on Monday, following a nine and a half hour journey from Taipei.
The aircraft received an Airservices Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) monitor cross on its way to the international terminal.
The reciprocal CI57 was due to depart Melbourne at 2320 on Monday.
Meanwhile, China Airlines’ Brisbane-Taipei service has also been switched to the A350-900, as these photographs on Instagram from Stephen Finkel showed:
The first Brisbane service operated by the A350-900 commenced on Sunday, March 25, when CI53 operated by B-18901 took off from Taipei just before midnight, landing in the Brisbane capital at about 1030 Monday morning.
After about three hours on the ground, the flight continued onto Auckland. The reciprocal CI54 was due to return from Auckland at about 1930 and continue onwards to Taipei at 2300.
The airline highlighted its all-A350-900 Australian network on its Facebook page.
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.
By contrast, the A330-300 that previously served Melbourne had either 307 or 313 seats in a two-class format, with angled-lie flat seat in business class in a 2-2-2 layout that does not offer direct aisle access for every passenger.
China Airlines commenced A350-900 flights to Australia in December 2017, when it upgauged the Taipei-Sydney route.
The airline has said previously the replacement of the A330-300s with the A350-900 on its Australian routes – China Airlines also serves Brisbane – was part of efforts to win passengers travelling to Europe via its Taipei hub.
“From December we will also have the new London route, so yes, China Airlines from this December we are joining the Kangaroo competition,” China Airlines general manager, strategic planning department, corporate development office James Chung told reporters at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Assembly of Presidents in Taipei in October 2017.
“We know there is much competition. But at China Airlines we believe we can try to target some niche markets.”
Qantas codeshares on China Airlines’ Australia-Taiwan services. Australia and Taiwan have an open skies air services agreement.
At the end of February 2018, the airline has taken delivery of 11 A350-900s with a further three on order.
No airline in Oceania has ordered the A350, although the widebody twin is an increasingly common sight at local airports thanks to services operated by Cathay Pacific (Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth), China Airlines (Sydney), Qatar Airways (Adelaide), Singapore Airlines (Brisbane and Melbourne) and Thai Airways (Melbourne).
And Airbus recent brought its A350-1000 to Sydney in February as part of a world tour.