There are several East Asian countries that each have two competing full-service airlines. Taiwan is one such territory, home to both EVA Air and China Airlines. Instead of specific cabin products, which may vary across the fleet, we will look at common areas such as destinations, fleet make-up, and service to judge the pair.
Evergreen Group-backed EVA Air serves four domestic destinations and 50 international destinations in 22 countries as of September 2022, per FlightConnections. Meanwhile, flag carrier China Airlines, on the other hand, serves the same four domestic destinations but covers 63 international destinations in 25 countries, giving it a clear advantage.
While EVA Air has a strong North American presence, with six routes to the US and one to Canada, China Airlines offers far better offerings to Australia and New Zealand and reach countries such as India as well.
EVA Air is heavily reliant on the Boeing 777 for its operations. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
It should also be noted that the two airlines are in different alliances. EVA Air is a member of the Star Alliance and thus connects to a network of 1,300 destinations in 190 countries worldwide. China Airlines is a member of SkyTeam, whose network is only 1,062 destinations in 170 countries. This may affect some passengers depending on their loyalty to either carrier.
While a clear winner can only be chosen depending on the region of travel, China Airlines offers better connectivity than its rival here. Both are based out of Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport.
Both airlines have nearly the same-sized fleet, with China Airlines currently housing 91 aircraft and EVA Air holding 86. However, they are divided differently.
China Airlines’ fleet consists of 22 Airbus A330s, 18 747Fs, 15 Boeing 737s, 14 A350-900s, 10 777-300ERs, eight A321neos, and four 777Fs. While the aging freighters put the carrier’s average at 10.5 years, the presence of the A350 means it has a good mix of modern long-haul jets as well.
China Airlines has opted for the A350 for its latest long-haul fleet, with EVA Air going for the Boeing 787 instead. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.
Meanwhile, EVA Air flies 34 Boeing 777-300ERs, 22 Airbus A321s, 12 A330s, 10 787s, and eight 777Fs. The more streamlined fleet has an average age of only 7.8 years, but the 777s remain the workhorse of the fleet by some margin.
It’s hard to hand the win to any carrier here, with both having a solid mix of aging and modern planes in their hands. This one comes down to a tie, albeit one that is easily broken depending on the onboard product.
Both airlines pride themselves on their service and catering options. Service tends to come down to personal choice, especially among two full-service carriers from the same region. However, rating websites give the upper hand to EVA Air here, with China Airlines lagging slightly behind.
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Ultimately, if you are a frequent flyer and are loyal to a particular airline and alliance, then your decision might already be made. However, for those who are open to both airlines, it seems like EVA Air is the winner with better ratings and more destinations accessible via the Star Alliance network. That being said, China Airlines offers a solid experience, holding up against legacy carriers in Europe and North America.
Have you flown both airlines before? Which one do you think is better? Let us know in the comments.