China Airlines to fly Airbus A350 on Sydney-Taipei route

China Airlines to fly Airbus A350 on Sydney-Taipei route

China Airlines will add its latest Airbus A350 to Sydney from December 1 2017 while also going double daily with flights on the Sydney-Taipei route.

Overnight updates to the airline's booking system show both the regular flight CI51/CI52 (which currently runs on an Airbus A330) and the new CI55/CI56 service will both see the advanced Airbus A350, which sports an upmarket business class based on the same design as that of Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways, among others.

The 32 seats each offer direct aisle access and a side-table for spreading our your inflight stuff...

... and convert into a 78 inch (1.9 metre) fully-flat bed, with an 18 inch video screen to keep you entertained during the flight.

Behind the business class cabin is the Sky Bistro bar with self-serve drinks and snacks.

Further back are 31 premium economy seats arranged in rows of 2-3-2...

... which at 20 inches wide and with a 39 inch pitch add two inches in width and seven inches of pitch compared to the A350's 243 standard 3-3-3 economy seats.

All passengers will be able to tap into an inflight satellite Internet service.

The new China Airlines flight CI56 leaves Sydney at 1.30pm to reach Taipei at 7.50pm; the CI55 return leg is wheels-up from Taipei at 8.10am and arrives into Sydney at 8.25pm.

The SkyTeam member will also increase its Taipei-Brisbane-Auckland flights to a daily service, up from the current four flights a week, from December 1.

Sydney-Auckland flights cancelled

However, there's bad news for travellers who relied on China Airlines for a trans-Tasman hop across the pond: schedule updates indicate that China Airlines is pulling the plug on its Sydney-Auckland flights as of December 1.

These Auckland flights ran an an add-on leg from the Taipei-Sydney service and could be booked on their own as a single leg between Australia and New Zealand.

A spokesperson for China Airlines confirmed these changes to Australian Business Traveller, along with cancellation of similar Sydney–Christchurch flights from October 29, 2017, saying they reflected "changed business strategies for this winter schedule in 2017."

Of the move to double daily Airbus A350 flights between Taipei and Sydney, the airline "believes this strategy will increase more passengers from Europe or other countries to take China Airlines flights for flight connecting arrangement in Taiwan."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

37 comments

  • Andy H

    Andy H

    12 May, 2017 06:51 am

    TPE-BNE-AKL still on but has increased to daily from 1 Dec 17. Hopefully the A350 is soon after that!
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  • Viscount2

    Viscount2

    12 May, 2017 07:59 am

    The premium economy looks good
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 10:39 am

    @Viscount:
    Not only looks good but clearly among the best PY design out there today.  It also has the most spacious PY specs of all 350 operators(only LH matches CI) being significantly more generous than even SQ and CX.
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  • boeingmannn

    boeingmannn

    12 May, 2017 09:35 am

    So... they currently have 4 flights a week and are increasing it to 14? That's quite a bold move...
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 10:23 am

    @boeingmannn:
    As stated in the article, TPE-SYD/BNE total wkly capacity by CI increase fm 11 wkly to 21 wkly as below:
    TPE-SYD - Current=7w, Dec17=14w
    TPE-BNE - Current=4w, Dec17=7w
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  • boeingmannn

    boeingmannn

    12 May, 2017 08:56 pm

    I was talking only about Sydney. I searched on Google and CI51 currently operates only 4 times weekly (I checked on Flightradar24 as well); do they usually increase it to daily during the Southern Summer?
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  • aviator

    aviator

    12 May, 2017 06:57 pm

    Kudos to them for trying, and reminds me of when CZ went from a handful of flights to double daily on SYD-CAN.

    I suspect CI is positioning itself as a high quality, value for money alternative somewhere between where CX and CZ currently sit on both Europe and more importantly Asia where CI/AE have comparable footprint now to CX/KA in terms of destinations in China, as well as Japan and Korea in second tier cities which is superior in coverage to CX/KA and doesn't require backtracking as can be the case with KE/OZ.
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  • isdnman

    isdnman

    12 May, 2017 09:43 am

    Any news on their MEL-CHC leg being cancelled?
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    12 May, 2017 10:17 am

    Is it seasonal or year round?
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 10:27 am

    @afloskar:
    MEL-CHC definitely has been a seasonal service on CI system timetable for yrs.
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    12 May, 2017 10:31 am

    @FLX1
    I know that but on CI timetable it is not showing the additional changes (BNE daily, SYD double daily A350 and SYD-AKL) past 25 March 2018.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 10:59 am

    @afloskar:
    But does not preclude revision to CI timetable later on this yr...especially when the article reported all the changes won't happen until 7mths fm now during the traditional peak travel period(i.e. easy to fill extra seats even when those  inventories won't show up on CI sales channels until a few mths fm now). 

    It's not uncommon for airlines to announce future frequency/equipment changes well ahead of actually tweaking/updating their IT systems/websites to reflect on their booking timetables(e.g. QF announced PER-LHR frequency mths before website/timetable was updated to reflect its availability for sale).
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    12 May, 2017 11:19 am

    I have some close contacts in Taiwan who are in the know.

    Firstly yes the TPE-BNE-AKL is still valid. CI still intends to service AKL and CHC as there is a decent market for passengers wanting to fly to Taiwan.
    The A350 is coming to the TPE-BNE-AKL route but seems to have been delayed until early 2018 when more frames are delivered. CI realises the A330 is no longer sufficient when the competition is offering far superior products.

    TPE-MEL-CHC , the MEL-CHC is seasonal but they do plan to keep developing the route over the next few years to support eventually a weekly flight to MEL and maybe a tag on flight to CHC all year. This route may also eventually transfer to the A350 either in 2018 or when the 6 options are ordered and delivered.

    Now for the SYD fliers! I am very jealous firstly (I only fly HKG-TPE-BNE).
    But the best news is the PE cabin will be sold as economy! If you have a Dynasty elite membership (Gold, Emerald, Paragon) you will be able to select these seats. If you have Skyteam elite plus card you should be able to get the seat if available upon checking and maybe over the phone to CI office.They may or may not allow a small number of seats to be selected by anyone booking the flight online without any of the above mentioned.
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    afloskar

  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    12 May, 2017 02:29 pm

    I am a bit surprised that they opt the A350 to SYD first rather than BNE consider that we have a larger Taiwanese population here. CI is the only airline servicing SYD-TPE so they have the monopoly, compare to BNE where BR also servicing the route. By coming to BNE first they will have the advantage of offering a more superior product than BR (who still use outdated A330 angled lie flat at 2-2-2) and hopefully secure more of the Taiwanese market here, and potentially offer the best trans-tasman J product.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 07:01 pm

    @Michael Kao:
    I'm not surprised @ all considering:
    1. TPE-SYD is likely a larger biz/premium mkt than TPE-BNE.
    2. N.E.Asia-TPE-SYD is clearly a larger biz/premium mkt than N.E.Asia-TPE-BNE......think CI routes like Wuhan/Qingdao/Nagoya-TPE-SYD where there're little to no nonstop alternative for biz travelers.
    3. In CI fleet, 359 has a more appropriate J/PY product to capture biz/premium demand than their 333(No PY).
    4. TPE-SYD is also likely a larger cargo mkt than TPE-BNE.
    5. 359 can easily carry a full belly cargo load+full pax while 333 cannot on TPE-SYD.

    "..we have a larger Taiwanese population here."
    No doubt about that.  However, I doubt such population size @ BNE is 2x larger than SYD.  On the other hand, BNE-TPE mkt does hv 2x more competitor than SYD-TPE mkt.....

    "CI is the only airline servicing SYD-TPE so they have the monopoly.."
    And dictating the fare level in SYD-TPE.

    "compare to BNE where BR also servicing the route."
    And CI cannot dictate fare level in that mkt due to BR.

    " By coming to BNE first they will have the advantage of offering a more superior product than BR."
    True, but will that advantage translates into higher avg fare earning for CI than for BR @ BNE-TPE where CI cannot dictate fare level?  Some pax will possibly pay more for CI's superiority but others will chase the lower fare @ BR especially in Y class....not the case in SYD-TPE where all pax hv no alternative.  This is critical because CI's 350 product is far newer & clearly cost more to provide than BR regardless of which route to deploy.

    I'm not saying CI will never deploy 350 on TPE-BNE but per normal econ logic, CI will prioritize expensive brand new 350 asset for 1 route where CI will hv a better chance to accurately predict Rev$ than for another route where CI hv to consider BR fare movements.
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  • wcha49

    wcha49

    12 May, 2017 07:22 pm

    One of the reasons that Sydney is the first to double the frequency is because that starting from December 2017, new route from Taipei to London Gatwick (direct) will be served by CI which means Australians and Europeans will have more options and of course compared to many airlines, CI has very competitive price.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    12 May, 2017 04:58 pm

    2tris:
    "CI still intends to service AKL and CHC as there is a decent market for passengers wanting to fly to Taiwan."
    There is for traveling between AKL and Taiwan but it doesn't mean BNE/SYD-AKL by CI must continue.  Canceling AKL-BNE/SYD-TPE in exchange for AKL-TPE nonstop sounds like a more attractive option for those pax and consolidating those traffic currently splitted across AKL-BNE and AKL-SYD into a single AKL-TPE route seems like a sustainable scale to initially support perhaps 4x wkly.  In addition, it opens up 1-stop routings via TPE between AKL and the entire N.E.Asian CI network covering so many Tier2 cities across Japan and China....AKL-TPE nonstop won't be only about pax wanting to fly between Taiwan and NZ.

    I always believe CI want to do AKL-TPE because tags/5th freedom ops are costly(e.g. tie-up aircraft asset for too long for a given distance)+very low yield(bi-laterally restricted uncompetitive frequency....that's why we see amazing CI fare on Trans-Tasman).  They couldn't do it for yrs because for that mkt size, their 744/77W hv far too many seats, 343 fuel burn would kill them(Now all gone fm CI fleet) and 333 simply do not hv such range capability.  359 @ CI addresses all those legacy issues re AKL-TPE nonstop.

    CHC-Taiwan on the other hand will always stay as a tag fm AU  because of its leisure traffic-heavy nature.

    "CI realises the A330 is no longer sufficient when the competition is offering far superior products."
    Perhaps on a few other CI routes but clearly not TPE-BNE where their only competitor offers practically the same product std fm nose to tail and on exactly the same aircraft type....I'm surprised your "close contacts in Taiwan who are in the know" are unaware of this.
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    12 May, 2017 06:21 pm

    Actually they do. He has always seemed to know before hand.. BNE is highly competitive compared to SYD.. Eva air is just now putting on a fight for BNE route against CI. Offering the same cabin quality is not enough for CI. Eva has the advantage by having a 5 star skytrax rating and a better safety history which means a bit to some people. That is why. Plus TPE-ALK is not on their radar. Its not just the plane type but also the fact that CI lacks viable frames to do the flight.

    AKL does not have have to be a direct flight because any other airline will require a 1 stop routing. AKL-BNE-TPE on a single flight number will always have the advantage time wise than say an AKL-HKG-TPE (probably the only other option close timing wise) routing.




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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    12 May, 2017 07:02 pm

    "BNE is highly competitive compared to SYD.. Eva air is just now putting on a fight for BNE route against CI. Offering the same cabin quality is not enough for CI."

    That was exactly my point. It is highly competitive yet they are offering the same cabin quality to BR on their BNE route. If BR brings in a 77W before CI, then they've lost the mark!
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    12 May, 2017 09:33 pm

    Seems we are both on the same page. There are many very Sydney/Melbourne centric people here. Chinese wont fly to Taipei due to restrictions if the try to fly cross straight. So the main destination is Taiwan itself. CI probably has a better position on the market share at the moment, but that could easily come down due to BR's recent interest in expanding in Australia.

    I do know this flight as i take it 5/6times per year.
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    12 May, 2017 09:59 pm

    Just to add on what Kao said, this thread makes it sound like BR will bring their B777 by the end of 2018 to BNE. CI has to go A350 by early /mid 2018 to head this threat off and maintain the avantage...



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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 May, 2017 08:14 pm

    @tris06:
    "this thread makes it sound like BR will bring their B777 by the end of 2018 to BNE."
    Yes, of course.  BR fleet planning is based on what some folks here said they should do....interesting way to conduct corp strategic planning.

    Not sure if U're aware that 2yrs ago, BR ordered+leased 787 x24 with the 1st frame joining BR fleet fm mid-2018.....must be a new idea for U that besides the 333, 77W won't be BR's only option for TPE-BNE.

    "CI has to go A350 by early /mid 2018 to head this threat off."
    Assuming your prediction re BR swapping 333 for 77W on TPE-BNE <<by the end of 2018>> is correct, why CI need to deploy 359 on the same route 9-12mths earlier than BR's swap?

    Are U aware that CI fleet won't hv a lot of 359s to play with for the nex 18mths mainly due to Airbus production delay(Affecting all 350 customers) and there're plenty of CI intercon routes(i.e. not TPE-BNE) where the 359 is the only CI machine with less than 310seats(i.e. not 77W/744) AND sufficient payload/range(i.e. not 333) to cover them?
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 May, 2017 08:21 pm

    @tris:
    A bit earlier U claimed A here:
    "Eva has the advantage by having a 5 star....and a better safety...."

    And now U claimed B here:
    "CI probably has a better position on the market share..."

    Pls make up your mind about which 1 U think is ahead in the TPE-BNE mkt.  U can't hv it both ways.
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    19 May, 2017 06:26 pm

    Its not difficult to understand what I am saying. CI is the dominant player so they have more market share. BR has not been focused on this until recently. If all is equal then BR will gradually take that market share also they have overall better history.

    Yes I know they are getting the B787. Whether it is a B777 or B787 makes no difference only that it is coming and it will be fully flat with better IFE. So yes CI does need to jump this. Also They dont need to wait 18months. There are many being delivered this year and they will have a total of 13 frames by April 2018 (under 12 months) so they will have the option of putting the A350 on the BNE route.
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  • crazybenjamin

    crazybenjamin

    12 May, 2017 10:56 pm

    "CI still intends to service AKL and CHC"
    Why not just fly non-stop? CA, CZ and MU fly nonstop to AKL from Mainland China.
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    tris06

  • Tristan

    tris06

    13 May, 2017 02:13 am

    CI is not from mainland China (PRC). Its from Taiwan (ROC). AKL does not have a big Taiwanese community as BNE plus AKL is definitely not as big as SYD population wise or have anywhere as much business in comparison.

    Mainland Chinese are limited in transferring through Taiwan without a visa issued by PRC. The only option for Mainland Chinese is to fly out of HKG (So why not just go CX then) and some cities far inland (Chongqing is one of the few) where currently CI does not have the rights to fly there to Taipei. BR was able to get a couple of flights per week though.

    Lets just say anything between Taiwan and Mainland China is complicated. So CI cannot benefit from the Chinese community much currently.

    So back to the original question. If the mainland Chinese airlines only send their 787's/777's weekly but have the huge market from China to fill up their planes (Over 1 billion people) then Taiwan being just 24 million will really struggle with loads putting an A350 direct to AKL.


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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 May, 2017 10:08 pm

    @tris06:
    "Taiwan being just 24 million will really struggle with loads putting an A350 direct to AKL."
    That's because U think CI can source traffic only fm connections with mainland China and Taiwan itself to support TPE-AKL.

    Combined total population for metro Tokyo+Seoul alone is already beyond 63 million(i.e. 2.5x larger than the entire  Taiwanese population) and CI already link them with TPE hub 5x daily.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    13 May, 2017 01:48 pm

    Also surprisingly, there is a large Taiwanese population here in BNE that came through AKL! These are the people that originally migrated to NZ in the 90's, got the NZ citizenship, got their university diploma but can't get a job in NZ! So many of them migrated to Australia and BNE seem to be their place of choice (I guess house in SYD/MEL is too high?). My bro in law is one of those. There are many other of my friends are those. They still have family and friends back in AKL so they go back to NZ as often as to Taiwan. 
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 May, 2017 09:49 pm

    @crazybenjamin:
    "Why not just fly non-stop?"
    I believe either CI or BR eventually will.  Unlike TPE-BNE, 359 is the only econ-viable type in CI fleet for TPE-AKL(789 or 78J in BR's case).

    Contrary to the belief of some folks here, TPE-AKL will not only be about Taiwanese community in AKL area.  It'll also be about 6th freedom traffic fm 2 geog sources flying to AKL via TPE:
    1.  CI currently link 13 cities in Japan+Korea @ least daily(7 cities hv 2x daily or more) with TPE hub...all can potentially feed TPE-AKL.  To fill 50% seats on a 359 heading to AKL, CI only need an avg of 12pax fm each of those cities.  In contrast, only 2 nonstop routes exist between New Zealand and Japan/Korea operated by NZ and KE respectively.
    2.  Europe to AKL 1-stop via TPE hub.  Routing will be among the shortest(Certainly shorter than flying via Gulf or S.E.Asia hubs) while avoiding the terminally congested Mainland Chinese hubs.  In addition to the current TPE-FRA, CI already planned to add more European cities nonstop to TPE.

    "CA, CZ and MU fly nonstop to AKL from Mainland China."
    And U'll noticed that all 3 fly AKL only fm their largest hubs and that's precisely the biggest problem for them to attract any significant volume of 6th freedom traffic for AKL unlike CI @ TPE:  PEK and PVG(CAN is slightly better) are infamous for flight delays and missed int'l-to-int'l connections there are rampant.  Artificially, domestic-to-AKL connections @ these hubs are more secure as domestic frequencies are far greater and therefore possible for domestic pax to comply with extremely long MCT(Min Connection Time) mandated by CA /CZ /MU.

    As a result, all 3 will continue to rely almost exclusively on China-outbound demand to sustain their AKL routes.
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  • Richard Burgess

    richard89

    12 May, 2017 03:05 pm

    I used their BNE AKL service quite a few times. Can often get Y return for under $400NZD incl 30KG. Trump's even NZ/VA codeshare on their most basic fares. Be very very sad to see it go!
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    12 May, 2017 04:23 pm

    It's not going...
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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    12 May, 2017 05:56 pm

    Do QF Platinum flyers get any benefits or recognition flying CI to Taiwan as a Qantas CodeShare service?
    ie Lounge access etc?
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  • wcha49

    wcha49

    12 May, 2017 06:10 pm

    In Melbourne, China Airlines uses Qantas Lounge anyway which will be similar to Brisbane and Sydney if you are on QF code. In Sydney, China Airlines uses SkyTeam Lounge.
    You will get the Express Departure card at the check-in counter when heading to Taiwan and to arrive in Australia(MEL, BNE or SYD), flight attendant will issue Express Arrival Card after the plane takes off.
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    12 May, 2017 09:37 pm

    I have seen Qantas members being able to use the QF lounge in BNE for this codeshare flight. In Taipei though I think they are unable to use the CI lounge. No idea if CX will let them in on the codeshare.
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  • wcha49

    wcha49

    12 May, 2017 05:59 pm

    According to China Airlines, starting from 9 MAY to 27 OCT
    CI53 (TPE-BNE) on Sunday does not extend to Auckland which means CI54 on Monday returns from Brisbane to Taipei!
    CI53 (TPE-BNE-AKL) runs normally on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
    Similarly, CI54 (AKL-BNE-TPE) runs on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. 

    As for Sydney route,
    On Tuesday, CI51 (TPE-SYD) does not run to Auckland and CI52 on Wednesday only runs from Sydney to Taipei.
    On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, CI51 runs to Sydney to stopover and head to Auckland. As for the return legs, CI52 will run from Auckland to Brisbane and to Taipei on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
     
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  • Kanishka  Bakmiwewa

    kanishkabakmi

    30 Jun, 2017 05:22 pm

    Thank you China Airlines for your turnaround flights ex sydney. you'll have lot of good ideas. 
    people who knows know how easy and how good and how nice and how beautiful and how every thing is well. thank you good airline. also please fly direct to NZ from TPE will be excellent too for passengers.. 
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  • Michael  Matheson

    Mickhenny

    10 Nov, 2017 07:18 am

    Has anyone actually flown with China Airlines SYD-FRA on there preimium class and business class
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20 Oct, 2018 07:24 am

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