China Airlines, Taiwan’s main carrier, announced on Tuesday its intention to acquire 16 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with eight more purchase options, from Boeing.
The widebodies will be delivered from 2025 and will replace the 22 Airbus A330-300s that are currently in service. The $4.6 billion deal comes weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, which angered the Chinese government.
According to analysts, the deal sounded like a counterpart to the recent order of A320neo family jets by China’s major airlines. The country’s civil aviation authority, on the other hand, continues to ban the Boeing 737 MAX from operating.
China Airlines said the eight call options could be converted into orders for the larger-capacity 787-10.
The choice of the Dreamliner was one of the reasons for its load capacity, which was superior to the A330neo, which competed with Boeing. China Airlines has a strong air cargo division, which operates four 777Fs.
The airline’s widebody fleet also comprises 10 777-300ERs, 18 747-400s and 14 A350-900s.