By Charlotte Seet
China Airlines Welcomes First Airbus A321neo
In the aviation industry, widebody aircraft have almost always taken the spotlight for being the more comfortable when it boils down to commercial air travel, as opposed to narrowbody aircraft. The direction for comfort on narrow-body aircraft seems to be changing as of late in this new era, with several airlines shifting towards upgrading both existing and new aircraft to include enhancements focused on maximizing passenger comfort. Taiwanese flag carrier China Airlines is just one of the several airlines that have recently just received the delivery of a narrowbody aircraft — its first Airbus A321neo passenger aircraft with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines.
The A321neos — leased from Air Lease Corporation — are set to eventually replace the current 18 of China Airlines’ older Boeing 737-800s and will be the newer regional workhorse as it will be able to fly on routes of up to seven hours from Taipei,Taiwan.
In total, China Airlines will acquire 25 A321neo aircraft — comprising of 11 directly ordered from Airbus and the remaining 14 under lease agreements — and will eventually form the core of the airline’s single-aisle fleet and offer cockpit commonality with it’s existing widebody Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 fleets.
The A321neo will be operated using a blend of sustainable aviation fuel to provide a great reduction of up to 80 percent in carbon emissions overs its lifecycle, as part of ongoing environmental efforts for the aviation industry.
The new A321neo boasts several enhancements including a brand new cabin that is onfigured with a Premium Business Class of 12 seats and a standard Economy Class of 168 seats.
Whilst the Economy Class has a standard three by three configuration, but the Premium Business Class features fully-flat seats in a two by two configuration, allowing for each seat to be wider and further equipped with adjustable extra-height partitions for privacy and reduced contact with neighboring seats.
The A321neo will also be featuring smart-link support introduced by the Skyteam carrier — a first for the domestic airline industry. The service enables passengers to be able to connect to the in-flight entertainment system via their own personal devices and Bluetooth headphones,
China Airlines plans to have an in-flight wi-fi service where its passengers will be able to use text messaging for several commonly used applications. The carrier has lso implemented contactless and sensor-activated taps in the lavatories, as well as the addition of HEPA high-efficiency air filtration systems to replace the air in the cabin every two to three minutes.
Besides the improved passenger comfort, the new addition to China Airlines’ short-haul fleet will also be a great help in ramping up the airline’s cargo capacity.
The airline’s cargo performance has been doing tremendously well as it consistently bests its monthly cargo traffic record time and time again this year, with levels surpassing those of pre-Covid times – a true highlight of how the current situation is signifying the need for airlines to bank more on cargo.
The A321neo will certainly further reinforce China Airlines and Taipei’s overall position as a global air freight hub. As a result, this aircraft will have up to 20 percent more cargo capacity with the enabling of container cargo operations through the Cargo Loading System,
As China Airlines has an A321neo in its fleet, it would be quite interesting to see how the playing field in Taiwan’s domestic market evens out as the airline competes fairly against the likes of EVA Air and Starlux Airlines.