China Airlines has become the first Airbus A350-900 operator at Sydney Airport after upgauging its nonstop service from Taipei on Sunday.
Flight CI55, operated by B-18909, touched down at about 2015 on Friday December 1, after its nine hour and 30 minute journey from Taipei.
The aircraft was on the ground for about 100 minutes before operating the reciprocal CI52 back to Taipei.
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 Sydney had 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.
China Airlines Oceania vice president Kelvin Chen said the upgraded product to Sydney coincided with the launch of nonstop flights between Taipei and London Gatwick, also with the A350-900.
“In its 25th year of operating to Sydney, China Airlines is very pleased to upgrade its Airbus A330-300 services to brand new A350-900 aircraft featuring the latest inflight product,” Chen said in a statement.
“Not only are we upgrading the passenger experience with these next-generation aircraft, but lifting frequency to offer twice daily departures to Taipei from December 17.
“This allows China Airlines to offer improved connectivity for the significant traffic flows between Sydney, Europe and Asia.”
Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said China Airlines’ move to double daily services represented an extra 100,000 seats a year on the route.
China Airlines said recently it was also planning to boost its Taipei-Brisbane-Auckland service from five times a week to daily with the A350-900, replacing A330-300 equipment on the route.
The airline has taken delivery of 10 A350-900s with a further four on order.
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,” China Airlines general manager, strategic planning department, corporate development office James Chung said recently.
Qantas codeshares on China Airlines’ Australia-Taiwan services. Australia and Taiwan have an open skies air services agreement.
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), Singapore Airlines (Brisbane and Melbourne), Thai Airways (Melbourne) and Qatar Airways (Adelaide).