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
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival