China Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo family aircraft, an A321neo with Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and an advanced cabin. The aircraft, leased from Air Lease Corporation (ALC), arrived in Taipei, Taiwan, where the airline is preparing it for entry into service. This aircraft is the first of up to 30 A321neo aircraft that the airline ordered in 2019.
The China Airlines A321neo passenger aircraft is configured with 180 seats including 12 in Premium Business Class and 168 in Economy Class. The cabin configuration itself has been fine-tuned to meet passenger requirements and support contactless service for epidemic prevention in the post-COVID-19 era. Fully-flat Premium Business Class seats developed for widebody passenger aircraft have also been introduced on a narrow body passenger aircraft for the first time. Each seat is now wider and equipped with adjustable extra-height partitions for privacy and reduced contact with neighbouring seats.
In a first for the domestic airline industry, smart link support has been introduced by China Airlines. All passengers can now connect to the in-flight entertainment system via their personal mobile phone and Bluetooth headphones. Thoughtful touches in the lavatory include contactless, sensor-activated taps to reduce the risk of cross-infection. The added HEPA high-efficiency air filtration system also replaces the air inside the cabin every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure a clean and safe trip.
“We are excited to begin operating this new fleet in partnership with Pratt & Whitney,” said Wang Houng, senior vice president of China Airlines. “The highly efficient and eco-friendly GTF engines will help us pave the way to a sustainable future, while providing our passengers with a more comfortable flying experience.”
China Airlines’ order in 2019 covered a combination of owned and leased aircraft – 25 firm with purchase rights for another five – in addition to a long-term EngineWise comprehensive agreement for the maintenance of the engines. Pratt & Whitney and China Airlines strengthened their relationship again in 2020, with the airline joining the GTF MRO network, in which it will overhaul GTF engines for A320neo family aircraft.
“Congratulations to China Airlines on their first GTF-powered A321neo,” said John Plueger, chief executive officer and president at Air Lease Corporation. “China Airlines and its customers will soon benefit from the capacity and range of the A321neo, the economic and environmental performance of its GTF engines, and the financial flexibility of these leased aircraft.”