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Old February 28th, 2012, 03:22 PM   #61
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Fri, Feb 24, 2012
CAL announces strategic changes to reduce costs
Taipei Times

China Airlines Ltd, the nation’s largest carrier, plans to focus more on the Asia-Pacific region this year by increasing routes and flights to Northeast and Southeast Asia to save on fuel costs in the face of rising crude oil prices, a company official said yesterday.

As for the long-haul routes that cost the company more in fuel use, the carrier said it would reduce the number of direct long-haul flights and deepen cooperation with other members of the SkyTeam Alliance, which CAL joined in September last year.

“Last year was a hard year for the airline industry,” CAL chairman Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) told reporters, adding that “the global economic environment will remain difficult this year.”

Rising crude oil prices, which have further driven up jet fuel costs, as well as continued weak cargo demand, will be the two major uncertainties for the airline sector this year, Chang said.

International Air Transport Association data showed jet fuel prices at US$133.9 per barrel as of Feb. 10, up 13.4 percent from a year ago and 2 percent from a month ago.

The rising trend in fuel prices, which account for about 40 percent of CAL’s overall costs, exerts heavy pressure on the company, especially for its long-haul routes.

As such, CAL will focus more on its regional business by either increasing the number of flights or routes this year, while strategically cutting direct flights for some long-haul routes, Chang said.

CAL will also launch more code-share services with its partners in the SkyTeam to maintain its service network, Chang said, adding that the carrier would continue to offer customers the same quality service.

CAL is scheduled to cut its direct flights to London and start offering code-share services on March 25.

As for its cargo sector, CAL needs to exercise better capacity control, company president Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) said.

The carrier will take a third cargo aircraft out of service in the middle of this year, after idling two other aircraft and placing them in protective storage in the US earlier this month.

CAL will pursue new markets to drive up its cargo service, Sun said.

The carrier might join SkyTeam Cargo, a global cargo alliance, to look for more opportunities in this sector, he said.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 05:10 PM   #62
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 08:59 PM   #63
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Fri, Mar 02, 2012
EVA, CAL win rights to Songshan-Kimpo flights
Taipei Times

Flights between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and South Korea’s Kimpo International Airport will be operated solely by China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced yesterday, but added that there was no start date yet.

The two nations still need to negotiate the start date for the route.

The route was made possible through an amendment of the aviation agreement between Taiwan and South Korea last year. It is part of the government’s “Golden Aviation Circle in Northeast Asia” scheme, which aims to provide direct services from Taipei to other major cities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Aside from Kimpo, Songshan also has direct flight services to Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport and Japan’s Haneda Airport.

Based on the bilateral aviation agreement between Taiwan and South Korea, each country can dispatch seven flights per week.

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director General Ying Cheng-pong (尹承蓬) said EVA would operate four flights and CAL three.

However, TransAsia Airway is upset at the allotment and has accused the aeronautics administration of being unfair.

“We do not blame the government for not assigning the route to us,” TransAsia chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) told a press conference.

“We feel sorry that the government did not offer all domestic air carriers a fair platform to compete with each other for air rights,” he said.

TransAsia said it was qualified to operate the route based on the guidelines governing the distribution of the international aviation rights. It questioned why the aeronautics administration was in such a hurry to distribute the flights when its application has not even been approved.

However, Ying said Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) had reviewed the application submitted by TransAsia and given the aeronautics administration full authorization to handle it.

The CAA has strictly followed the guidelines to distribute the flights, which maintains that each aviation route will be operated by only two carriers, Ying said.

A third carrier can only operate a route if the average occupancy rate of flights on the route has reached 75 percent and both carriers on the route have yet to use up all of the flights distributed to them, Ying said.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #64
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Mon, Mar 05, 2012
Taipei Times
Third airline might serve Taipei-Seoul flights, CAA says
COMPETITION:The CAA’s announcement came after TransAsia Airways raised opposition to a decision that would see it excluded from flying along the route

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Saturday said that a third local airline might be able to provide direct flights between Taipei and Seoul.

The administration said it hopes to review the bilateral aviation agreement between Taiwan and South Korea in the second half of the year, and that more direct flights, as well as a third local carrier, might be added to the route.

However, it said that before relevant regulations are amended, only two direct flights a day would be allowed between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and Gimpo Airport in Seoul.

The remarks came after TransAsia Airways on Thursday protested against a decision by the aeronautics administration to give only China Airlines (中華航空) and EVA Air (長榮航空) the rights to conduct direct flights on the route.

In a post on his Facebook page, TransAsia Airways chairman Lin Ming-sheng (林明昇) called on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to amend the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) and to set a timetable for implementing his long-touted “open-sky policy.”

Lin said the government had been touting the open-sky policy for more than four years, but few measures have been put into practice.

Singapore and Thailand have already implemented open-sky policies, which have not only benefited the countries’ national airlines, but have also transformed Bangkok and Singapore into regional transport hubs, Lin said in his Facebook post.

The aeronautics administration announced on Thursday that according to the Taiwan-South Korea bilateral agreement, a total of seven non-stop flights to Gimpo Airport would be provided by China Airlines and EVA Air every week.

South Korea-based T’way Airlines and Eastar Jet will also schedule the same number of direct flights to Songshan, the administration said.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #65
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Wed, Feb 29, 2012
Airlines urge more fairness in air rights
Taipei Times

The nation’s smaller international air carriers, such as TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空) and Far Eastern Air Transport Co (FAT, 遠東航空), said the government should assign new routes more equitably and reasonably to develop a healthier environment for the sector.

Their request came after news that South Korea’s government has assigned the air rights between Gimpo International Airport in Seoul and Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) to two of its budget airlines, rather than the bigger Korean carriers.

TransAsia yesterday reiterated its determination to pursue the air rights for the Songshan-Gimpo route.

“We hope the government will learn from South Korea’s aviation policy and help domestic small and medium air carriers’ development,” TransAsia said in a statement.

TransAsia said the carrier has been focusing on the Songshan facility for a long time and that it was confident it could offer the most complete service to passengers on the route.

FAT also called for a fairer distribution of routes by the government to encourage the domestic airline sector’s development.

“The government should not favor certain airlines,” FAT said earlier this month.

Industry sources said the air rights for the Songshan-Gimpo route would be assigned to carriers that also operate on the route between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Incheon International Airport.

The two carriers operating on the Taoyuan-Incheon route are China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) and EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), Taiwan’s two largest airlines.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #66
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Tue, Mar 06, 2012
Select spring air fares down: group
HIGHER TOUR PRICES : Surging oil prices and lodging costs mean that prices for package trips to Japan and South Korea will still increase, a travel association said
Taipei Times

People planning to travel to Japan or South Korea this spring can save a little on air fare thanks to the open sky policy between Taiwan and Japan, as well as the launch of direct flight services between Taipei International Airport (Songshan) and Kimpo International Airport in South Korea, the Travel Quality Assurance Association said yesterday.

However, the prices for tour packages to these two countries will still rise because of surging oil prices and increasing accommodation costs, the association told a press conference to announce reference prices for different package tours around the world from next month to June.

Prices for package tours to South Korea will rise by NT$2,000 to NT$4,000, and except for tours to Okinawa, tour prices for other places in Japan will increase by about NT$1,000 from the same period last year.

Chris Lee (李道珩), deputy general manager of JP Travel who monitors tour prices to countries in northeast Asia, said the Songshan-Kimpo direct flight service could begin next month.

He said that while Taiwan gave the right to operate this route to the nation’s top two carriers — China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways — the South Korean government granted the right to two budget carriers.

“We expect CAL and EVA to adjust ticket prices accordingly to counter competition [from the budget carriers],” Lee said. “The airfare could drop further by NT$500 to NT$1,000.”

Lee said that the open sky policy between Taiwan and Japan will also help reduce ticket prices, particularly during the peak travel season.

There could be more chartered flights to any city in Japan other than Tokyo, he added.

Meanwhile, the prices for package tours to Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand, as well as to Singapore, will drop by between NT$1,000 and NT$2,000 from the same period last year. However, prices for tours to other parts of Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, will rise by between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000.

Despite the depreciation of the euro, tour prices to Europe will climb by NT$3,000 to NT$5,000. Travelers to the UK will particularly notice the increase in their tour budget as the county will be hosting the Olympics and Paralympics Games in summer, with accommodation and transportation costs rising ahead in spring.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 10:51 AM   #67
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2/28/2012
EVA to Fly Nonstop, New York to Asia and Add Service
Airline shaves flight time by three hours, ups weekly flights from four to five

Press Release

EVA Air will initiate nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Taiwan and increase its weekly flights from four to five per week, starting 18 June, 2012. This summer, JFK departures will be scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and the refueling stop in Anchorage will be eliminated. One-stop connections through Taipei’s world-class Taoyuan International Airport to 24 cities in China and almost every major business and leisure center in Northeast and Southeast Asia will make travel on EVA’s competitively priced flights even easier and more convenient. Travelers can book flights, buy tickets and select seats through travel agents, by calling EVA toll free at 800-695-1188 or online at www.evaair.com .

EVA flies comfortable new Boeing 777-300ERs on flights between New York and Taipei and, with its schedule change, will be making the trip in 14 hours and 55 minutes. Early morning arrivals and frequent, convenient connecting flights enable East Coast passengers to get to morning meetings in Taiwan or connect onward for luncheon appointments in Shanghai and most other major cities in Asia. Flight time for the return trip from Taipei is 15 hours and 50 minutes and is nonstop now.

Along with New York, EVA serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver in North America. And it makes more flights to Taiwan with more easy, one-stop connections onward to more destinations in China and throughout Asia than any other airline. EVA’s free mobile app for iPhones, Androids and other smart phones along with flight, schedule and booking information is available at www.evaair.com .
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Old March 9th, 2012, 04:52 PM   #68
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Old March 14th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #69
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Wed, Mar 14, 2012
Taipei Times
Adolescents now banned from ultra-light aircraft

Adolescents under age 15 are now banned from boarding ultra-light aircraft after the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said it had completed an amendment to the Ultra-light Vehicle Operation Regulations (超輕載具管理辦法).

“The minimum age was determined after we consulted the Insurance Act (保險法), because the life insurance policy does not cover adolescents under the age of 15,” CAA Director-General Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said. “We now require passengers boarding an ultra-light aircraft to be least 15 years old.”

The CAA said it decided to set the minimum age requirement after complaints that it was dangerous for elementary and junior-high school students to board such aircraft on field trips, despite the fact students were required to secure consent from their legal guardians.

Adolescents from 15 to 18 years of age are only allowed to ride in ultra-light aircraft as passengers with a flight instructor or other licensed individuals, and are barred from operating the craft, Yin said.

Furthermore, learning permit applicants must be at least 18 years old, the CAA said, adding that trainees can only practice operating an ultra-light aircraft under the supervision of an instructor. Those applying for a pilot’s license must be at least 20 years old and trainees can only fly solo after they obtain the license.

Yin said the amended regulations require pilots to maintain a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.04 percent, or below 0.2mg per liter when measured on a breathalyzer, which is a stricter standard than that for car drivers.

He added that ultra-light aircraft pilots are asked to follow the “see and avoid” principle when they operate the vehicles, particularly when two aircraft are approaching head-on, converging at the same altitude or when one aircraft is trying to overtake another.

According to the CAA, ultra-light vehicles are characterized as fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters, gyroplanes, powered parachutes and power paragliders. Those operating the aircraft without a license face a penalty of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

Currently, pilots of ultra-light aircraft can fly in 10 designated zones nationwide.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 05:27 PM   #70
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Old March 28th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #71
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Passengers pose for photos in front of an airplane of Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines at Wenzhou Yongqiang Airport in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 25, 2012. A direct air route was launched between Wenzhou and Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, on Sunday. The route will be operated twice each week by Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines. The direct route takes 80 minutes, making it the shortest route between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zheng Peng)



Representatives of staff and passengers pose for photos in front of an airplane of Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines at Wenzhou Yongqiang Airport in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 25, 2012. A direct air route was launched between Wenzhou and Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, on Sunday. The route will be operated twice each week by Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines. The direct route takes 80 minutes, making it the shortest route between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zheng Peng)



Staff members watch an aircraft of Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines landing at Wenzhou Yongqiang Airport in Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 25, 2012. A direct air route was launched between Wenzhou and Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, on Sunday. The route will be operated twice each week by Taiwan's Mandarin Airlines. The direct route takes 80 minutes, making it the shortest route between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zheng Peng)
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Old March 29th, 2012, 05:48 PM   #72
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Mon, Mar 26, 2012
TransAsia only airline to pay dividend
PAY DAY:Although the carrier’s profits were down last year from the year before, the board of directors still approved a cash dividend of NT$0.2 per share
By Amy Su / Staff reporter
Taipei Times

Taiwan’s deputy representative to Japan Lo Koon-tsan, fourth right, China Airlines president Sun Huang-hsiang, third right, Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu, second right, and others cut ribbons at a ceremony marking the first flight from Shizuoka Airport to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Shizuoka, Japan, yesterday.
Photo: Chang Mao-sen, Taipei Times

TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空) will be the only listed air carrier in Taiwan to pay a cash dividend to its shareholders this year, reflecting the company’s better profitability last year when compared with its peers.

The nation’s other two listed airlines, China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) and EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), have both announced that there will be no dividend payout this year because global economic uncertainties hurt their earnings performance last year.

TransAsia, which mainly operates regional and cross-strait passenger routes, posted NT$663.96 million (US$22.44 million), or NT$1.34 per share, in net profit last year, the highest earnings per share of the three listed carriers, Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) data showed.

As a result, the company’s board of directors decided to approve a NT$0.2 per share cash dividend to its shareholders this year, TransAsia said in a statement last week.

However, the carrier’s profitability last year was still lower than a year earlier, an indication that a labored global economy affected the aviation sector.

TransAsia reported a net profit of NT$917.65 million, or earnings per share of NT$1.91, in 2010, TWSE data showed.

The same headwinds took a bigger toll on CAL and EVA’s earnings last year as weak external demand and slowing consumption hurt the two air carriers’ cargo business, which mainly transports consumer electronics products for major technology firms.

This led to their decision to not pay any cash or stock dividends to shareholders this year.

CAL — the nation’s largest carrier — posted NT$1.95 billion, or NT$0.42 per share, in net losses last year, compared with the NT$10.62 billion profit, or earnings per share of NT$2.391, recorded a year earlier, the company said in its stock exchange filing.

Taiwan’s second-largest airline, EVA, has not yet released its full-year net profit. Waterland Securities Co (國票證券) earlier this month forecast that the carrier’s net earnings would slow to NT$1.5 billion, or NT$0.46 per share, last year, from NT$12.02 billion, or earnings per share of NT$4.06, a year earlier.

Both CAL and EVA have been starting to adjust downward their cargo capacity by either idling or selling cargo carriers since late last year to deal with still-slow external demand this year.

The passenger business, which carriers had high hopes for this year, has also seen a major issue arise — rising crude oil prices.

Because fuel costs account for more than 40 percent of overall costs for CAL and EVA, officials from both carriers said earlier this year that they would focus more on regional business this year, including routes to China and other destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, because long-haul routes cost them more in fuel.

CAL yesterday announced the launch of two new Japanese routes, with three flights a week to Shizuoka and Kagoshima, after an aviation pact was signed by Taiwan and Japan last year. It is also planning to offer more weekly flights to Japan, including the new Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport-Toyama route, from April 16.

Meanwhile, the carrier’s subsidiary, Mandarin Airlines Corp (華信航空), also launched a new route between Taipei and China’s Wenzhou, with two flights a week.

Although the nation’s airlines still have an advantage over their overseas peers on cross-strait routes, Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said in a report on Friday that rising fuel prices would increase cost pressures this year, further affecting the sector’s outlook.

CAL and EVA shares fell 0.37 percent and 1.56 percent from a day earlier to close at NT$13.35 and NT$18.95 respectively on Friday, while TransAsia closed unchanged at NT$20.35, TWSE data showed.
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Old March 30th, 2012, 06:34 PM   #73
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 06:15 PM   #74
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 05:10 PM   #75
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Fri, Mar 30, 2012
Taipei Times
EVA expects boost from Star Alliance
SYNERGY:The green-trademarked airline hopes to get a huge boost in revenue from the tie-up, with president Chang Kuo-wei indicating there may be an increase of NT$10 billion

EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), the nation’s second-largest air carrier, expects its passenger revenue for next year to grow 20 percent from this year, benefiting from its participation in the Star Alliance, a company official said yesterday.

The carrier announced yesterday that its membership application had been accepted by Star Alliance, adding that it would soon begin the integration process with the other members of the alliance. It expects the integration to be completed in the first half of next year at the latest.

The air carrier is scheduled to join the largest airline alliance in the world by the first half of next year.

“After careful evaluation, we concluded that Star Alliance offers the best match for us,” company chairman James Cheng (鄭光遠) said in the future membership signing ceremony held by EVA and Star Alliance.

EVA and Star Alliance will complement each other, Cheng said, adding that the company would expand the existing Star Alliance flight options in the growing cross-strait market.

EVA president Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said that the carrier’s move to join Star Alliance would raise its passenger revenue for next year by 20 percent from this year.

EVA posted NT$59.51 billion (US$2.01 billion) in passenger revenue last year, up 5.5 percent from a year ago, and marking its highest level ever. Chang indicated that passenger revenue might increase more than NT$10 billion next year.

The carrier’s expectations were substantially higher than the target set by its peer, China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空).

The nation’s largest air carrier, which joined the SkyTeam Alliance, the other major global airline alliance, in September last year, estimated that joining the alliance would boost its revenue by between NT$1 billion and NT$2 billion for this year.

“The significant synergy in both service enhancement and expansion of our customer base is expected to emerge once we officially become a member of Star Alliance,” Chang told the reporters after the ceremony.

Currently, EVA covers little of the Latin American, European or African markets, Chang said, adding that becoming a Star Alliance member would solve this problem.

As for cargo business, which was weak all last year, the company has begun to experience a slight rebound this month, with the launch of Apple Inc’s new iPad driving up demand, Chang said.

However, Chang said more time is needed to tell whether the momentum will continue for the rest of the year.

The carrier will sell two cargo freighters this year and delay the purchase of new cargo aircraft, he said.

Chang said he did not expect the company to earn a profit in the first quarter, because of weak cargo demand in the first two months of the year.

Also, rising crude oil prices are a major source of uncertainty this year, Chang said.

“Even if we impose a bunker surcharge to passengers, this can only make up for 50 percent of the company’s rising costs, which means we still have to digest the other half,” he said.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 05:10 PM   #76
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Old April 17th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #77
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Wed, Apr 11, 2012
Nation’s airlines report revenue growth
Taipei Times

Revenue at the nation’s two largest airlines rose last month from February amid improving demand on both passenger and cargo sectors.

China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest air carrier, yesterday reported NT$11.1 billion (US$375.38 million) in revenue last month, up 15.38 percent from a month earlier, data provided by the company showed.

Revenue from the passenger business increased 10.28 percent from a month earlier to NT$6.76 billion, while cargo sales climbed 25.96 percent month-on-month to NT$3.93 billion, both helping drive up CAL’s overall revenue for last month.

On an annual basis, passenger sales rose 11.55 percent for last month, with revenue from the cargo sector down 17.95 percent, leading overall revenue to drop 1.65 percent compared with March last year, company statistics showed.

EVA AIRWAYS

Compared with CAL, the revenue of EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), the nation’s second-largest air carrier, grew stronger last month.

The airline posted NT$8.89 billion in revenue for last month, up 17.44 percent from a month ago and 5.63 percent from a year earlier, according to financial data released on Monday.

Revenue from the passenger business totaled NT$5.07 billion last month, up 11.43 percent and 13.17 percent from a month and a year earlier respectively.

In addition, cargo sales climbed 29.2 percent month-on-month to NT$3.23 billion, which was 5.83 percent lower than those recorded in March last year.

The airlines’ month-on-month increase for cargo sales last month was in line with EVA president Chang Kuo-wei’s (張國煒) expectations.

Chang said last month that the company had begun to experience a slight rebound in the cargo sector since the beginning of last month, with the launch of Apple Inc’s new iPad driving up demand.

However, Chang said he did not expect the company to earn a profit in the first quarter, because of weak cargo demand in the first two months of the year.

For the first quarter, EVA’s revenue totaled NT$25.57 billion, up 5.71 percent from a year earlier and 2.36 percent from a month earlier, company data showed.

However, CAL reported a 4.27 percent quarter-on-quarter decrease in revenue during the January-to-March period amid weaker cargo business. Its sales grew 1.69 percent from a year ago to NT$32.08 billion in the first quarter.

TRANSASIA AIRWAYS

Compared with the two bigger airlines, TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空) posted a higher growth level in first-quarter revenue, as the company focused only on passenger business, a relatively strong sector during the period.

Revenue for TransAsia totaled NT$2.18 billion, up 12.65 percent from a year earlier and 6.86 percent from a quarter earlier, company statistics showed.

High aviation fuel prices may raise carriers’ operating costs and strike down their profitability in the first half of the year, Capital Securities Corp (群益證券) said in a research report yesterday.

Currently, Taiwanese air carriers are able to impose a bunker surcharge on passengers, but the level of surcharge could only make up for 50 percent of the company’s rising costs, which means airlines still have to digest the other half.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 12:31 PM   #78
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Mon, Apr 23, 2012
FAT grounds jet, warns of delays
Taipei Times with CNA

Passengers flying with Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) were warned to expect delays after one of the carrier’s jets was grounded on Saturday because of damage to the exterior, the company said yesterday.

The carrier said it found an 18cm scratch near a passenger door when the MD-82 jet was towed to the hangar at the Taipei International Airport (Songshan) after completing a flight from Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, China.

Since the damage could affect the aircraft’s ability to maintain cabin pressure while in the air, the decision was taken to ground the jet, the carrier said.

With one of FAT’s seven MD-82 and MD-83 jets already undergoing routine maintenance, the carrier said the newly grounded aircraft poses challenges for the company’s punctual operation, and that passengers are likely to face delays.

The company said it suspected the scratch was caused by the mishandling of the airbridge between the jet and the terminal building, based on findings from a reconstruction of the scene done early yesterday.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Aviation Safety Council have been informed about the incident, the carrier said.

It added that further investigations will have to be performed to determine the actual cause of the damage.

Apart from its domestic flights and an international route serving Cebu in the Philippines, FAT operates mainly to several destinations in China.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 04:53 AM   #79
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Wed, Apr 25, 2012
Hot-air balloons could be legalized as civilian aircraft
PROPOSAL:The nation’s first hot-air balloon festival was so popular that the Civil Aeronautics Administration wants to amend regulations so they can be flown legally
Taipei Times

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said it was considering categorizing hot-air balloons as civilian aircraft, adding that it would hold a public hearing today on a proposed amendment to aviation regulations.

The amendment to legalize hot-air balloons was proposed after the Taitung County Government hosted the nation’s first hot-air balloon festival last year, and it became a tourist attraction in eastern Taiwan.

Currently, only airplanes and helicopters qualify as civilian aircraft.

CAA Director General Ying Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said nine aviation regulations would have to be amended before hot-air balloons could operate legally in Taiwan.

He said that the Taitung County Government has planned to host the balloon festival again in June this year, with 20 hot-air balloons from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Lithuania, the UK, Switzerland and other countries participating.

Director of CAA’s flight standard division, Chang Ling-ti (張羚悌), said there were two types of hot-air balloon activities — free-flight balloons that drift through the air and those that are tethered to the ground.

He said that despite being a popular outdoor activity in other countries, the general public in Taiwan are not allowed to engage in hot-air ballooning because the nation lacks regulations to manage the activity.

He added that the Taitung County Government had to get special permission from the CAA to hold the event last year.

Chang said the decision to set strict regulations to manage hot-air balloons carrying people was made after an accident in New Zealand in January, in which 11 people were killed.

The CAA is scheduled to complete the regulations’ amendment before June, in time for the Taitung County Government to host the festival, he said.

In addition to hot-air balloons from abroad, Chang said the Taitung County Government also acquired its own two hot-air balloons.

The county has sponsored five people to be trained in the US as hot-air balloon pilots, he said.

Not only must the county government secure all the necessary certificates for the balloons, the pilots must each also have at least 35 hours flying time before they can be licensed to operate the commercial-use hot-air balloons, Chang said.

Chang said the festival’s organizer has applied for permission to fly the hot-air balloons at an altitude of 914m. Last year, hot-air balloons could only fly at an altitude of 609m and were restricted to fly within a radius of about 6km from Luye Township (鹿野) in Taitung.

Nonetheless, it allowed tourists in the balloons to get a bird’s eye view of the East River Valley, he said.

The ideal time to fly the hot-air balloons is within two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset, Chang said.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 11:22 AM   #80
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