Up­front

Chair­man Huang-Hsiang Sun sees new air­craft de­sign and mem­o­rable ser­vice as part of China Air­line’s con­tri­bu­tion to Tai­wan’s cul­ture

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

One on One with Chair­man Huang-Hsiang Sun of China Air­lines. Amer­i­can ups its en­ter­tain­ment op­tions. Sin­ga­pore un­veils new Pre­mium Econ­omy. AC Ho­tel pre­mieres in Chicago. Taxi shar­ing pi­loted at LaGuardia. Hy­att Bos­ton Har­bor com­pletes gue­stroom renos. Ven­er­a­ble DC Mayflower joins Au­to­graph. Qan­tas busi­ness lounge at LAX ex­pands. Hil­ton and ANA part­ner so trav­el­ers ex­pe­ri­ence more. Plus Ap­ple Watch up­dates from Amer­i­can, Delta, Sin­ga­pore, Bri­tish Air­ways, Emi­rates and Air New Zealand.

What do you think are the key at­tributes Amer­i­can and Cana­dian busi­ness trav­el­ers should know about China Air­lines?

SUN: China Air­lines is the lead­ing air­line in Tai­wan and the first choice of pas­sen­gers plan­ning to travel from North Amer­ica to Tai­wan.

BT: What are your cur­rent North Amer­i­can routes?

SUN: China Air­lines of­fers 14 flights to Los An­ge­les, seven flights to San Fran­cisco, three flights to NewYork and seven flights to Van­cou­ver each week. China Air­lines also has code­share agree­ments in place with Delta Air­lines, Hawai­ian Air­lines,Vir­gin Amer­ica and WestJet. China Air­lines also plans to in­crease the fre­quency of ex­ist­ing routes and launch new routes. New can­di­date des­ti­na­tions be­ing stud­ied in­clude Seat­tle, Chicago, Toronto, Hous­ton and Bos­ton.

BT: What in­no­va­tions are we see­ing in your fleet?

SUN: One of our pri­or­i­ties is to stream­line our fleet and up­grade our ser­vice qual­ity. China Air­lines is op­er­at­ing the new 777-300ER air­craft on its Taipei-Los An­ge­les and Taipei-NewYork non­stop routes. San Fran­cisco will start in July.

The new 777-300ER air­craft fea­tures a Pre­mium Busi­ness Class with 40 ful­lyflat 78-inch seats. It fea­tures the Sky Lounge to of­fer an oa­sis of Tai­wanese cul­ture in the sky, in­clud­ing the Eastern “Literary Tea-tast­ing Area” and the Western“Fash­ion­able Cof­fee Area.”

The Pre­mium Econ­omy Class fea­tures ex­panded legroom and a fixed back­shell de­sign that can be re­clined with­out dis­turb­ing trav­el­ers in the next row. The Pana­sonic eX3 in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem fea­tures a so­cial net­work­ing func­tion called “Seat Chat”that al­lows pas­sen­gers on the same flight to mes­sage one another. Fly­ing with CAL will be more than just fly­ing – it will be a cus­tom­ized en­ter­tain­ment ex­pe­ri­ence in the sky.

BT: What will the ad­di­tion of a new air­craft mean for your trans-Pa­cific routes?

SUN: To China Air­lines, 777300ER is a game changer. It gives us more flex­i­bil­ity and bet­ter eco­nomic per­for­mance and bet­ter ap­peal to our cus­tomers. The new air­craft pro­vides a high-qual­ity, com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment for pas­sen­gers trav­el­ing be­tween Tai­wan and the US.

BT: For North Amer­i­can trav­el­ers go­ing to Main­land China, what does Taipei have to of­fer as a hub?

SUN: North Amer­i­can trav­el­ers to China can take ad­van­tage of China Air­lines’ ex­ten­sive net­work of 32 des­ti­na­tions in China. For pas­sen­gers from Canada and the US ar­riv­ing in Taipei, same-day transit is avail­able to tier one Chi­nese cities such as Shang­hai and Bei­jing and also di­rect trans­fers to tier two or tier three cities. Re­turn­ing from main­land China to North Amer­ica, overnight flights from Taipei to North Amer­ica of­fer the per­fect con­nect­ing flight.

BT: What do you see down the road for China Air­lines?

SUN: We ex­pect both the in­tra-Asia and trans-Pa­cific area to keep grow­ing.The cross-strait mar­ket in par­tic­u­lar still has tremen­dous growth po­ten­tial. We would there­fore like to in­crease our fre­quency on routes to Main­land China.

Avi­a­tion fuel prices have dropped. This makes us more cau­tiously op­ti­mistic about the mar­ket in 2015.

BT: The cul­ture of Tai­wan seems to play a large role in how you po­si­tion China Air­lines to in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers. Why is that?

SUN: Tai­wan wel­comed 9.9 mil­lion visi­tors in 2014 and ex­pects more than 10 mil­lion in 2015. The key ob­jec­tive of our new ser­vice and prod­uct of­fer is quite sim­ple; we like to show the best of Tai­wan on our air­craft. China Air­lines sees this as a re­spon­si­bil­ity. When our cus­tomers step on our air­craft, they will feel Tai­wan, hear Tai­wan, see Tai­wan, smell Tai­wan, taste Tai­wan, and of course they will love Tai­wan. That’s all we want to do.

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