Just to add some grist to this.
E-mail correspondence with a friend up in Taipei confirms to me that indeed Airbus's VP visited CAL and a deal is in the works.
There is no "loser" on any side in this order. It is split between Boeing and Airbus. It keeps the trade issue in balance as well. The ROC government values it's relationships with the US -and- Europe. CAL wants the 747-400 frieghter and it appears 13 of those plus a few more are on option, along with a few more 737-800s. They want the frieghters to replace the current aging fleet of 747-200s as well as reducing (not necessarily elinminating) dependency on services contracted out to other frieght carriers.
The A340 order and A330 HGW Memoranda of Understanding will fit CAL's growth and replacement needs to a very nice advantage for them.
Speaking of the A340, CAL's MD-11 routes to Europe and Australia need an aircraft that replaces it more in tune with ultra-long haul thinner capacity routes, not justifying a 777 or 747 size airplane.
It will also open up nonstop sectors that cannot be done from Taipei to Europe with the MD-11. Flights in question are the Taipei-Bangkok-Amsterdam, Taipei-Abu Dhabi-Rome, Taipei-Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt-Zurich runs. Some of this is due to political restrictions on overflights I believe and with a more range capable airplane, these stops may be reduced. The Australia/NZ flights are nonstops to SYD, BNE and AKL.
As to the A330-300HGW, this is a unique regional-to-long hauler that will posess some interesting capabilities which will come in handy. CAL's high frequency, short range flights to HKG frequently are frequently booked to capacity and then some, of note are the return traffic flights that have passengers connecting from US/Europe/Australia arrivals at HKG connecting onwards to Taiwan. The bulk of the traffic is the "shuttle passenger" to/from HKG that flies out in the morning, returning back later on in the afternoon.
For perspective, 33 flights a day average fly between Taipei and Hong Kong, versus 7-8 daily from Kaohsiung. (The domestic Taipei-Kaohsiung schedule makes the HKG traffic for all of Taiwan pale in comparison (G) The HKG arrival traffic at Kaohsiung Intl in the evening hours is impressive..several flights arrive withing a few minutes of eachother in the evening, now added to that Northwest Airlines DC-10 service from Osaka. The inbound immigrations area is -jammed- with people waiting in line to be cleared.
The HKG-Taiwan-HKG traffic is flown by CAL/EVA/CathayPacific/DragonAir/Thai with a single SIA and BA flight as well.
All of these are widebody equipment flights of course. Hence, the attention to making -the best- of your route authority and slot allocation with equipment that can move it. (G)
This -IS NOT- a US style deregulated airline operating environment where an airline can just pick and choose additional flights increasing frequency, schedule changes and so forth as they see fit, making an announcement of a schedule increase and calling the advertising people to broadcast it on one's local radio or tv station..Not at all! It's not that simple here.
You either use the right equipment and make the best of what you are allocated..or lose your traffic to your competitors who would be more than obliging to take the customers from you. It's that simple. Overall it's a very lucrative business for CAL and they need the lift to do it with.
Anyhow..just some observations on this..I'm gathering up some e-mail correspondence on another thread here. (G)