China Airlines (CAL, ??), one of Taiwan's leading international carriers, said Friday that it is scheduled to take delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft on Sept. 30, following a successful test flight earlier in the week.
The assembly of the A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft, including cabin furnishings and engine installation, was completed at an Airbus plant in Toulouse, France in late August, and the follow-up tests were conducted smoothly, CAL said.
It said the ground trials of the A350 long-range airliner were conducted in early September and a test flight was carried out successfully on Sept. 14.
The delivery of CAL's first A350-900 XWB had been scheduled for July but was postponed due to delays on Airbus' assembly lines.
According to CAL, the A350-900 XWB has the most advanced production technology and its high-end production materials have resulted in a lighter and safer model.
In addition, the eco-friendly aircraft is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent, which will help lower maintenance costs, CAL said.
CAL, the first carrier in Taiwan to include the wide-body A350s in its fleet, has ordered 14 of that model with an option of an additional six, and is expected to take delivery of another three by the end of the year.
The first A350-900s, which will carry the airline's plum blossom logo on the tail, has a seating capacity of 306 -- 32 in business class, 31 in premium economy, and 243 in economy, the carrier said.
The new aircraft will be assigned initially to regional routes such as Taipei-Hong Kong before being put into service on direct long haul flights between Taipei and European destinations such as Amsterdam, Vienna and Rome by the end of the year, the airline said.
Earlier this month, CAL said it was planning to resume direct flights to London by the end of the year as part of its expansion into the European market with the procurement of its new A350 fleet.
CAL launched a non-stop service to London in March 2010 but it was suspended in 2012.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel