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EVA Air plans fleet expansion with Chinese market in mind

2011/06/19 15:10:12

9 Guam, June 19 (CNA) EVA Airways, one of Taiwan's two major international carriers, intends to expand its fleet primarily to capitalize on China's growing market, EVA Air President Chang Kuo-wei said Sunday.

Chang, the youngest son of Chang Jung-fa, the founder of the airline and affiliated Evergreen Group, said EVA Air plans to acquire at least 20 new aircraft to replace its MD-90s and larger Boeing 747s, which are less fuel efficient than newer models.

The airline is considering the Airbus 321 and Boeing 777 as possible additions, Chang said during a chat with members of the Chinese-language media in Guam who were on EVA Air's inaugural flight to the Pacific island.

Chang was one of the pilots on the Boeing 777 flight that flew to Guam Saturday morning .

Among the passengers were three engaged Taiwanese couples planning to hold weddings in Guam who were given free round-trip business class tickets as part of the celebrations marking the new route .

The three couples, chosen from more than 800 applicants, were also given bridal gowns and suits, five-star hotel accommodation and a church ceremony, according to EVA Air.

The airline also plans to introduce aircraft with theme-based designs later this year, in line with two "Hello Kitty" aircraft it flew between 2005 and 2009 that featured the popular Japanese fictional character in its interior and exterior design.

"Similar colorful jets will be launched this year, but the theme will be a secret until the launch time," a high-spirited Chang said.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Deborah Kuo)