China Airlines begins operating the Taipei-London (Gatwick) service on December 1 with the new A350-900 XWB fleet making four flights a week. This route makes China Airlines the only airline in Taiwan to offer non-stop flights to London. The introduction of non-stop flights to London represents a major boost to China Airlines’ European network. When added to existing non-stop flights to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), Vienna (Austria) and Rome (Italy), China Airlines will operate 22 weekly flights to five European destinations and is the only Taiwan-based airline that currently operates so many non-stop flights between Taiwan and Europe.
To celebrate the launch of the new route, China Airlines hosted a banquet in London on the afternoon of December 1 local time. Guests including Representative of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK Ambassdor David Y.L. Lin, UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands, Trade Envoy to Taiwan Lord Faulkner of Worcester, British Representative in Taiwan Catherine Nettleton, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang, Gatwick CCO Guy Stephenson, and Deputy Mayor of Taoyuan City Wang Ming-de, were invited to celebrate the inaugural flight of this new route.
As part of his banquet speech, China Airlines Chairman Nuan-hsuan Ho said that the introduction of direct flights to London by China Airlines represented an important milestone in the development of bilateral economic and cultural relations between Taiwan and the UK. Fourteen new A350 and ten new 777 aircraft have been subsequently introduced in recent years to optimize global network capacity and introduce non-stop flights on all European routes. China Airlines now offers the most nonstop flights between Taiwan and Europe of any carrier. Future efforts will focus on the continued strengthening of relationships with partner airlines to provide Taiwanese travellers with the most comprehensive network for travelling to and from Europe.
The China Airlines CI069/CI070 Taipei-London service departs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday on the latest A350-900 XWB aircraft, which are equipped with 32 Premium Business Class, 31 Premium Economy Class and 243 Economy Class seats. Passengers who opt to fly non-stop with China Airlines will reach their destination in just 13 hours, saving between 3 to 7 hours of transit and stopover time. Gatwick Airport offers convenient customs check and luggage pick-up and is also well connected to downtown London as well as major English cities in the north and south, making it very convenient for transit as well as arrivals/departures.
China Airlines is strengthening its Oceania network as well to complement the launch of its UK service. From December 1, the Taipei-Sydney route will be increased to two daily services and Taipei-Brisbane-Auckland will be upgraded to one service daily. The additional flight offerings better connect the Oceania and European networks providing transit customers with more comprehensive options.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics indicate that the UK accounts for 11% of inbound/outbound between Taiwan and Europe from 2014 to 2016. The number of Taiwan-UK traveller trips also approached 150,000 in 2016, an increase of 10% over the previous year. Between January and August this year, the number of travellers grew by 27% compared to the same period last year. These statistics indicate that the UK market as a whole continues to show strong development potential.
To celebrate the launch of the new Taipei-London service, China Airlines is offering an Early Bird promotion: Premium Economy round-trip airfare departing from Taiwan is priced at 31,360 TWD before tax, while Economy Class round-trip airfare is priced at 18,620 TWD before tax. The promotion is available from now until December 31, 2017, via the China Airlines website.