Taiwan’s China Airlines Ltd. ordered 16 Boeing 787-9 aircraft with options for eight more and conversion rights to a higher-capacity Dreamliner jet, as it looks beyond the pandemic.
The government-backed carrier announced the deal in a statement Tuesday, weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, infuriating Beijing, which considers the island to be part of China.
Deliveries for the Boeing widebody jet will start in 2025 and are intended to replace China Airlines’ aging medium-haul Airbus SE A330-330 fleet, the carrier said. The deal for the 16 jets is valued at approximately $2.1 billion, based on estimates from aircraft appraiser Avitas.
The carrier said it started its widebody passenger aircraft replacement program in 2018, but pushed it back in 2020 due to COVID-19. Deliberations resumed in September last year, it said.
Airbus was also vying to sell aircraft to China Airlines, which weathered the pandemic well thanks to its fleet of almost two dozen freighter aircraft. The carrier operates a total of 86 passenger and cargo jets.