Chang lays out EVA Airways’ fleet expansion plans

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 14

EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空) plans to phase out its Boeing 747-400 aircraft in three years as it aims to build up a newer fleet to raise safety and energy efficiency.

The nation’s second-largest carrier is planning to order more B777-series aircraft and Airbus SAS’ A321 planes, and even B787 Dreamliner jets, to replace the B747s, EVA chairman Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said yesterday.

“The next step for the company is fleet replacement and upgrade,” Chang told reporters after a press conference to announce its formal entry into the Star Alliance.

The average age of EVA’s fleet is eight to nine years, he said.

The airline is aiming at a fleet with 35 B777-series passenger and cargo planes, Chang said. It now has 15 B777-300ER aircraft, with another seven on order.

EVA plans to order 10 more A321-series aircraft for regional and shorter routes, moving away from the four A321-200 planes it now operates and the 14 more on order.

The fleet upgrade may take five to 10 years to complete, with B787 Dreamliner jets for long-haul routes in the long run, Chang said.

EVA will start integrating routes with its 27 peers in the Star Alliance now that it is a member.

“The move may help us save resources and raise business efficiency,” Chang said.

Instead of increasing routes, the airline will concentrate on the frequency of its higher-profitability cross-strait flights to enhance its niche and advantages in the Star Alliance, he added.