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China Airlines will launch direct flights between Taipei and London from December 1 2017, relying on the SkyTeam member's new Airbus A350 jets to resume a route which it abandoned in 2012.
The 13-hour flights will run four days each week between Taipei and London's Gatwick Airport, and dovetail with the debut of double-daily A350s on the Sydney-Taipei route – also from December 1 – to create an "A350 all the way" service.
- flight CI069 will depart Taipei at 9.30am to reach London Gatwick at 3.30pm every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, with a slight time change to 8.55am/2.55pm on Fridays
- flight CI070 will leave London at 9.15pm for a 6.30pm touchdown at Taipei on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
The move also sees a new Kangaroo Route hopping into the market – this time via Tiapei – with China Airlines joining the handful of "A350 all the way" routes flown by Cathay Pacific from Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth to London.
Inside China Airlines' Airbus A350
The A350 interiors have been shaped by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen, who also created the new look of China Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER cabin and its flagship lounge at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1 (shown below), which takes its cues from Chinese art and architecture to present a “Southern China-style garden" in the middle of the terminal.
China Airlines' Airbus A350 will exude similar influences, especially in the business class cabin.
Starting from the same B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat as on China Airlines' Boeing 777-300ER, and also adopted by Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia among others, each of 32 passengers will enjoy direct access to the aisle.
The seats convert into a 78 inch (1.9 metre) fully-flat bed, with an 18 inch video screen to keep you entertained during the flight.
However, Chen says that while the Boeing 777's cabin was built on an 'Ancient Oriental' theme, the A350 adopts a brighter 'Modern Oriental' palette, including LED mood lighting which counts among its schemes a cheery Chinese New Year display.
Behind the business class cabin is the Sky Bistro bar with self-serve drinks and snacks.
Further back are 31 premium economy seats arranged in rows of 2-3-2...
... which at 20 inches wide and with a 39 inch pitch add two inches in width and seven inches of pitch compared to the A350's 243 standard 3-3-3 economy seats.
All passengers are be able to tap into an inflight satellite Internet service.
China Airlines will boost its Taipei-Brisbane flights to a daily schedule from December 1 2017, up from the current four flights a week, although the Sydney–Auckland leg of its Taipei-Sydney flights will end on July 13 – the same day that Emirates pulls the plug on its Sydney-Auckland Airbus A380 service.