The original start date was December 2, but Airbus delivery delays have put back the inaugural flight to January 9.
It will be CAL’s first ever non-stop link between Amsterdam and Taipei. And although Dutch airline KLM also plies the route, its B777 service stops in Manila. Both carriers are members of Skyteam.
KLM has a daily service whereas CAL will fly four times a week (from Amsterdam) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Now both carriers have announced a codeshare agreement which means they will offer passengers a choice of 11 weekly services (four with CAL and seven with KLM).
From the European perspective this development will enable passengers from the UK, mainline Europe, Scandinavia and so on to reach Taipei more easily via Amsterdam.
For political reasons there are limited flights at present between Europe and Taipei, and few of these operate non-stop.
Therefore most passengers are obliged to take an indirect routing via a hub in Asia or the Gulf.
In the case of the UK the KLM/CAL link will enable our regional travellers faster and easier access to Taipei via Amsterdam.
CAL no longer flies from London (although it plans to return at some future stage) so the only direct service is operated via rival Eva Air. But Eva Air flies via Bangkok.
Although the situation has improved in recent years, Taipei still remains underserved from Europe. And it’s all because of politics as Europe’s national airlines are wary of upsetting the Beijing government in mainland China as relations between the “two Chinas” remain prickly at best.
Indeed KLM’s diplomacy has enabled it to develop services to both Taiwan and mainland China. And this is a feat which no other European carrier has achieved in recent times. Even the Gulf carriers, with the exception of Emirates, do not serve both mainland China and Taiwan.