China Airlines’ First A350 Delivered & New Routes Announced

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China Airlines (not to be confused with Air China) took delivery of its first A350-900 on Friday and will begin to operate it on short-haul routes (crew orientation flights) by the end of this month and will introduce it on the Taipei – Amsterdam route early next year.

China Airlines is the less premium of the two big Taiwanese airlines with EVA Air being the more popular and, if I’m being honest, the one with the better reputation all round…..so why am I even bringing this airline up?

Well, China Airlines has been making some decent strides in making itself a bit more presentable to the world and the introduction of a nice new reverse-herringbone Business Class cabin on the 777-300ERs was a big step forward.

China Airlines old Business Class:

china-airlines-old-business-class

China Airlines new Business Class:

china-airlines-new-business-class-1

China Airlines is also a member of SkyTeam and, as of not too long ago, you can now search for China Airlines awards on Delta.com.

China Airlines is taking delivery of a total of 14 Airbus A350 aircraft and, although it hasn’t scheduled any A350 routes to/from the US at the moment, there are some interesting routes that the aircraft will operate between Europe and Asia.

China Airlines A350 Routes

[HT: Routes Online]

The inaugural flight is set to be on the Taipei Hong Kong route on 30 October:

CI903 TPE 08:00 – 09:55 HKG

The aircraft will operate further flights to/from Hong Kong throughout the day and will continue operating this route into December.

Other China Airlines A350 Routes (in date order):

Osaka Kansai From 4 December 2017

CI152 TPE 09:50 – 13:20 KIX (Daily)
CI153 KIX 14:30 – 16:40 TPE (Daily)

Amsterdam From 9 January 2017

CI073 TPE 02:15 – 09:00 AMS (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat)
CI074 AMS 15:50 – 11:35+1 day TPE (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat)

Vienna From 9 January 2017

CI903 TPE 23:35 – 06:25+1 day VIE (Mon, Wed Sat)
CI903 VIE 11:00 – 06:00+1 day TPE (Tue, Thu, Sun)

Rome From 4 February 2017

CI075 TPE 08:25 – 16:45 FCO (Tue & Sat)
CI076 FCO 18:45 – 14:50+1 day TPE (Tue & Sat)

Shanghai From 1 March 2017

The A350 will operate on Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun appearing as various flight numbers.

Singapore From 1 March 2017

CI753 TPE 08:20 – 13:05 SIN (Daily)
CI752 SIN 14:05 – 18:45 TPE (Daily)

Beijing From 3 March 2017

CI511 TPE 07:55 – 11:10 PEK (Mon & Fri)
CI512 PEK 12:25 – 15:35 TPE (Mon & Fri)

Guangzhou From 4 March 2017

CI521 TPE 14:15 – 16:15 CAN (Sat)
CI522 CAN 17:30 – 19:35 TPE (Sat)

China Airlines Awards

China Airlines doesn’t partner with any of the 3 major credit card providers in the US (Chase, Cit & Amex) and you can’t even transfer SPG points to China Airlines but, as the airline is a SkyTeam member, Delta SkyMiles are an option.

As things stand the flights don’t appear to have been loaded into the system correctly as, I’m getting an error when searching for roundtrip flights but, when I search for individual one-way segments, availability is there at 80,000 SkyMiles:

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-19-17-19

And there’s good availability non a number of other routes too like Rome:

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-19-21-43

Bottom Line

With the new Business Class cabin and the Airbus A350 (an aircraft I really like) it looks as if China Airlines has got an offering that’s worth considering. EVA air is, understandably, still the much more popular airline out of Taiwan but China Airlines could be a good use of SkyMiles if you’ve got some going space.