Taiwan's China Airlines plans to buy 10 aircraft

Taiwan's leading carrier China Airlines plans to buy up to 10 fuel-efficient passenger aircraft at a price of several billion dollars, according to the company and media.

The planes, either Boeing 777-300ERs or Airbus A350-1000s, will replace its fuel-hungry 747-400s which are due to be retired no later than 2015, the Taipei-based Economic Daily cited company president Sun Huang-hsiang as saying on Thursday.

He was not quoted as saying when China Airlines would buy the planes, or how much they would cost, but the paper estimated the cost at around Tw$70 billion ($2.3 billion).

A company spokesman confirmed the plan when approached by AFP.

The airline lost Tw$940 million ($31.33 million) in the three months to March, as the average oil price surged by $11 from last year to $132 per barrel in the first quarter.

Taiwan's EVA Airways in May ordered three Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft, which Boeing says are about 20 percent more fuel-efficient than competitors from other aircraft makers.

Founded in 1959, China Airlines operates a fleet of 68 aircraft and flies to 80 destinations in 28 countries.

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