Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) has launched a narrowbody passenger aircraft and freighter replacement program to include Airbus A321neos and Boeing 777 freighters.

CAL plans to introduce 14 leased A321neos, which are scheduled to enter into service from 2021. Negotiations for an additional 11 firm orders and five options will be initiated simultaneously.

In a May 8 statement, the carrier said that, with the A321neo, it will be able to deploy new-generation aircraft on both long-haul and regional routes while benefitting from operational efficiency and better economics.

China Airlines operates 10 Boeing 777-300ERs and 14 Airbus A350-900 XWBs on long-haul routes.

In addition, the SkyTeam member signed an MOU with Boeing for three firm 777Fs plus three options.

The 777Fs are powered by GE90 engines.

Between 2014 and 2016, CAL introduced 10 Boeing 777-300ERs. The 777Fs and 777-300ERs will provide more flexibility for common type pilot deployment. Current 777-300ER pilots could fly the 777F after receiving difference training.

Compared to the carrier’s 747-400Fs, the 777F delivers a fuel savings of more than 20%. CAL plans to operate 777Fs from its Taipei Taoyuan hub to European and North American markets to meet growing demand.

At the same time, the 777Fs will replace some older 747-400Fs currently in service.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at