EVA Air—which remains banned from flying over Mainland China—continues to wait for overflight permits for direct service from Taipei to Europe via China. As a result, the Taiwan-based carrier is forced to operate longer routes between Taiwan and Europe via Russian airspace or Southern Asian routes.

“So far, we do not have all overfly permits for direct service from Taipei to Europe via China. [If] that is granted, that could possibly save 1-2 hrs. of flight time,” EVA Air told ATW.

For political reasons, Taiwan has been restricted from using northern China’s airspace on flights to Europe. The carrier often must make detours and many flights to Europe must go farther south, depending on the season and wind conditions.

EVA Air declined to mention operational costs for such long-haul flights. “Instead of defining the cost for each flight, EVA Air focuses on the total network efficiency and benefits. From the statistics, EVA Air reached an 81% overall load factor in 2018,” the carrier said. In addition, EVA said it earned €3.62 billion ($4 billion) in revenue from passenger and cargo that support its current networks and future plans.

Europe is a relatively small part of EVA’s network, representing about 10% of the carrier’s business. “But it is strategically very important,” EVA GM-Austria and Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) Edward Ho told ATW

The Star Alliance airline operates in Europe to Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow airports.

EVA Air launched nonstop Boeing 787-9 operations May 9 from Taipei to Vienna and via Bangkok to Vienna. The 787-9 replaced 777-300ERs on the route.

The airline is in the delivery process of an order of 24 Boeing 787s. Its fourth 787-9 will be delivered in 2019. Four larger 787-10s are scheduled to be delivered in 2019, five in 2020, five in 2021 and six in 2022.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at