EVA Airways has opened contractual negotiations with Airbus Industrie on ordering six A340-500s, plus six options, but has not ruled out placing orders with Boeing. It holds an unsigned letter-of-intent (LoI) for a similar number of proposed 747-200ERXs.

Despite EVA having earlier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus to be a launch customer for the A340-500, Boeing has not yet given up on persuading the Taiwanese carrier to back its yet-to-be launched 747-200ERX. As with the Airbus MoU, the proposed LoI covers firm orders for six aircraft and options on a further six.

While some observers view the planned ultra-long-haul version of the 747 as little more than an attempt by the airline to force Airbus and Rolls-Royce down on price, others in Taiwan view it as a serious proposal to either supplement, or substitute for, the A340s. EVA, which has an all-Boeing fleet, needs the aircraft to operate between Taipei and the US East Coast.

The 747-200ERX, which combines the 747-400F's strengthened wing and landing gear with the -200's shorter upper fuselage (saving around 4,000kg), would be capable of operating up to a maximum range of 14,800km (8,000nm). It would be able to carry up to 380 passengers.

Source: Flight International