China Airlines Chairman Zhang Jiazhu stated the carrier’s goal over the next five to 10 years is to become an ”international airline” and to achieve that goal, the carrier must expand its fleet to more than 100 aircraft (China Times, 13-Apr-2011). The carrier plans to introduce 20 new A350s and replace six A340s by 2015.
China Airlines must expand fleet to 100
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China Airlines to resume Taipei-London, becomes the last major Asian flag airline to fly to London
China Airlines plans to resume Taipei-London service with the A350 by the end of 2016. The swift interest and compressed timescale may reflect the airline's new government-appointed chairman wanting to refocus the airline. The number of Taiwanese visitors to the UK has grown since China Airlines exited London in 2012, but volume is still small and one-stop competition has grown in what is mostly a leisure and price-sensitive market. China Airlines is stressing the opportunity to connect London with its growing Australian markets, but its three online Australian cities are served less than daily. Australia-London/Europe competition has also grown, so China Airlines – despite an improved product to London – will likely pick up fringe traffic. There are stronger opportunities for the relatively sleepy airline in the dynamic and booming Northeast Asia.
China Airlines will become the last major Asian flag airline at London Heathrow following the previous entry of Garuda, Philippine Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. Only Mongolia's MIAT is absent. 12 Asian airlines fly long haul but do not serve London. Besides MIAT and Hong Kong Airlines, the only Asian airlines not in London are Mainland Chinese airlines or long haul LCCs.
TransAsia & V Air dual brand strategy collapses: TransAsia to become hybrid and V Air to shut down
Taiwan’s V Air, the LCC unit of TransAsia Airways, will end operations in Sep-2016 having carried only half a million passengers since its Dec-2014 launch. V Air was constantly the underdog to Tigerair Taiwan, although both are loss-making. V Air becomes the second notable Northeast Asian LCC to exit the market after AirAsia Japan (Mk I).
Whereas AirAsia Japan suffered from a shareholder dispute, V Air and TransAsia failed due to an unsuccessful dual brand strategy. The problem was one from the start, not a scenario that unravelled. V Air could have made decisions differently, but ultimately it hinged on TransAsia.
V Air’s collapse is not self-inflicted but rather, a failure of TransAsia. TransAsia’s decision to launch a dual brand strategy was unusual, given the small size of TransAsia and its undefined market position. Instead of the sum of the two airlines being greater than the individual parts, having two sub-scale airlines fragmented both. TransAsia operates 10 jet narrowbodies while V Air operates four. TransAsia will now restructure to pursue a hybrid business model, combining the two.