China Airlines, the Taiwan-based carrier, announced the purchase of 16 Boeing 787-9 passenger aircraft fitted with General Electric GEnx engines. Deliveries are expected to commence in 2025 and the next-generation aircraft will become the mainstay of the medium-capacity wide-body fleet. China Airlines had previously introduced the 777-300ER, A350-900 and A321neo. The new fleets have been dispatched on long-haul, medium-haul and regional routes as part of the overall network strategy. The next generation fleets ready for post-pandemic boom.
China Airlines embarked on its wide-body passenger aircraft replacement program in 2018 but evaluations were pushed back in 2020 due to COVID-19. With the pandemic easing and the revival of the global passenger market, the evaluation and introduction process resumed in September 2021. Outside consultants were brought in to provide input and a thorough study was conducted to select the optimal aircraft model to support business development.
The 787-9 passenger aircraft is Boeing’s next generation flagship product, offering distinct advantages in terms of aircraft design, operational performance, and product penetration. The next generation cabin design offers travelers a superior flying experience with adjustable cabin pressure and humidity providing greater comfort. The exceptional fuel efficiency of the 787-9 means fuel consumption and carbon emissions are approximately 20% lower than the previous model. This will not only greatly optimize the cost structure but also contribute to China Airlines’ goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The operational flexibility of the Boeing 787-9 will simplify fleet dispatching and improve competitiveness. It will also facilitate the expansion of the network for medium to long-haul passenger traffic. The Boeing 787-9 has excellent cargo-carrying capacity as well and its bellyhold can hold 36 containers. This gives it a clear advantage over other aircraft models, making it a valuable addition to China Airlines’ cargo capacity.
China Airlines currently operates 86 passenger and cargo aircraft including the A350-900, 777-300ER, A330-300, 737-800, and A321neo. These include 65 passenger aircraft as well as twenty-one 747-400F/777F cargo aircraft. The A330-300 passenger aircraft will be phased out with the introduction of the new 787-9 aircraft in accordance with the fleet revitalization plan. The order included options for eight more aircraft as well as conversion to the high-capacity 787-10 model.