In 2019, global economic growth slowed. A number of factors put pressure on airlines’ bottom lines: the US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions, the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests, tension across the Taiwan Strait, an oversupply of airline passenger and cargo capacity, and labor-management disputes. The operational environment became much more difficult. After facing these internal and external challenges, China Airlines owes a debt of gratitude to our employees, passengers, partners, and shareholders for their support. Like the plum blossom shown in our logo, we boldly persevered. Brimming with confidence, we confronted adversity head on.
In 2019, China Airlines used a new generation of A350-900 and 777-300ER jetliners to fly to European, North American, and Oceanic destinations. As we developed new regional markets and increased our share of high-profit destinations, we used alliances to increase the density of our flight network. For cargo operations, despite a cyclical downturn in the overall market, the US-China trade war, and the rise of protectionism, our flexible flight network and customized sales and marketing enabled us to provide better services. We developed and promoted timely and temperature-controlled deliveries while strengthening our logistics and alliance partnerships. At the same time, we continued to optimize our flight network and preserved our flexible capacity. To maintain market competitiveness, in 2019 we confirmed the purchase of the Airbus A321neo new generation of narrow-body aircraft (deliveries expected to begin in 2021) and Boeing 777F cargo aircraft (deliveries expected to begin in 2020). Replacing ageing aircraft in our fleet will raise operational efficiency while lowering maintenance costs.
The aviation industry is heavily impacted by the economic environment. China Airlines therefore seeks to raise product competitiveness, improve product quality, and add new services that generate additional revenues while strengthening member marketing and digital marketing. We see great potential in the aerospace industry and continue to seek greater market share in the Asian flight maintenance industry. To support profitability and a clear market segment for our subsidiary Tigerair Taiwan, we are planning a separate public listing of the unit by as early as 2020.
At China Airlines, we use the diverse brands within our organization to improve operations in multifaceted ways. We expect these ventures to lead to new areas of profit and opportunity.
China Airlines follows six main strategies that support sustainable development: safety, governance, fleet and flight network, products and services, corporate cooperation, and brand perception. Our team’s energy and hard work create conditions for widespread domestic and international praise, including our status as Taiwan’s only transport stock to be included on the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index for four consecutive years. In the future, we will continue to use the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), the highest standard in the industry, as a basis for ensuring passenger flight safety.
Besides extensive praise for sustainable development, in 2019 China Airlines received major domestic and international awards for our image, service, and brand promotion. For three consecutive years, the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the travel app TripIt gave us their highest rating of five stars in the Global Airlines category of their joint Official Airline Ratings.
As the leading brand in the Taiwan aviation industry, China Airlines is obligated to serve as a benchmark for natural resource conservation and environmental protection. We launched Taiwan’s first trial of a sustainable alternative fuel for the aviation industry. Passengers and employees are encouraged to achieve zero net emissions. We promote Eco Travel and became Taiwan’s first international airlines to sign up to support the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
Giving back to society and generating social values are key promises of China Airlines’ sustainable development program. We care for the disadvantaged and volunteer to discuss aviation topics at local schools. Initiatives underway include teaching about the environment and supporting national sports development. Sustainable strategies include promoting equal social opportunities for disadvantaged groups, internationalizing local education, and raising the global visibility of Taiwan’s local brands. Together with society, we create sustainable values. In the future, we will continue innovating to provide more diverse, higher quality services and products. Our employees are firm believers in progress. In conjunction with passengers, they use aviation as a starting point to create more beauty in the world while aiming to make China Airlines Taiwan’s most beloved aviation company.