Mandarin Airlines to retire Embraer fleet in 3 years

Two Mandarin Airlines E-190 jets pictured at Hong Kong International Airport. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Mandarin Airlines, a regional subsidiary of Taiwanese carrier China Airlines (CAL), will begin retiring the only fleet of Embraer aircraft in Taiwan in three years, according to a plan recently submitted to the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

According to Mandarin Airlines, it plans to return the six 104-seat Embraer E-190 jets to the leasing company at the pace of two per year, starting in October this year.

The regional carrier took delivery of eight leased E-190 jets from June 2007 on an eight-year contract and kept six of them for another five years.

The jets have been used to fly to both domestic and regional destinations, such as Taiwan’s outlying county of Penghu and Hong Kong, respectively.

The carrier later purchased nine twin-engine 70-seat turboprop ATR72-600 planes, which it said are more economical for domestic routes. It has taken delivery of seven of them since November 2017.

As part of the CAL group, Mandarin Airlines also uses the larger aircraft and crew of the parent company for wet lease flights to Chinese and regional destinations.

More recently, Mandarin Airlines began wet leasing sister company Tigerair Taiwan’s 180-seat Airbus A320s on domestic routes, after seeing rising demand amid restrictions on traveling abroad.

Under CAL’s short-haul fleet renewal plan announced in 2019, the group is expected to lease 14 Airbus A321neo jets and has placed orders for up to 16 of the same model, some of which will be operated by Mandarin Airlines.