EVA Air announced (03-May-2012) plans to invest USD100 million to upgrade business class across its fleet of 15 Boeing 777-300ERs with the first aircraft to complete refitting by the end of May-2012 and enter service on 02-Jun-2012 on the carrier’s Taipei Taoyuan-New York JFK sector. Refitting of all 15 Boeing aircraft is scheduled for completion by Aug-2013. EVA Air stated the first refitted aircraft will operate on three of the carrier’s four times weekly Taipei-New York frequency with frequency on the sector to be increased to five times weekly from 18-Jun-2012 – see Route Changes table for more information. The carrier also plans to introduce the refitted aircraft on services to Los Angeles at the end of this year and to San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, Amsterdam and London from 2013. [more – original PR – Chinese]
EVA Air president Chang Kuowei stated the carrier’s announcement comes as the expansion of LCCs has made it increasingly difficult for airlines to focus solely on economy class. He said, as quoted by Taipei Times, that“faced with tougher economy-class service competition, the company is looking to attract more premium customers through the upgrade”. Mr Chang added the carrier will reduce the number of business class seats but increase prices by 20% to increase its revenue.