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CAL, EVA Air see February sales impacted by virus spread
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Taipei, March 11 (CNA) China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Arways (EVA Air), the two largest international carriers n Taiwan, reported on Tuesday a double digit decline in ales for February, at a time when the escalating spread of the COVID-19 virus has seen an increasing number of consumers avoid air travel.

CAL said it posted NT$9.34 billion (US$311 million) in consolidated sales in February, its lowest monthly level in nine years, down 24.9 percent from a year earlier and also down 36.7 percent from a month earlier.

In an internal letter to its employees, CAL said the carrier canceled almost 1,400 flights in February, accounting for 23 percent of the total in the wake of general weakness in the airline market.

About 610 flights across the Taiwan Strait, roughly 520 flights to Hong Kong, more than 160 flights to destinations in Northeast Asia and over 60 flights to Southeast Asia were canceled in the month, CAL said.

The number of long haul flights to North America and Europe was also reduced, CAL added.

More : https://focustaiwan.tw/business/202003110014
 

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Tigerair Taiwan announces major flight cuts as pandemic surges
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Taipei, March 17 (CNA) Tigerair Taiwan announced massive flight cuts in the wake of the escalating global novel coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, when Taiwan extended its highest Level 3 travel alert to cover virtually all of Asia and Europe and three states in the United States.

The airline said that from March 18 to April 30, it will cancel all flights between Taiwan, Tokyo Narita and Osaka, except for Taoyuan-Narita flights IT200, IT201 and Taoyuan-Osaka flights IT210, IT211.

Its Taoyuan-Fukuoka flights IT240, IT241 and Taoyuan-Okinawa flights IT232, IT233 will operate as normal on Wednesday, while all other flights with the two Japanese destinations will be canceled from March 19 to April 30.

Meanwhile, the budget carrier said, it is canceling all other flights between Taiwan, Japan and Thailand from March 18 to April 30, in addition to the current suspension of flights to South Korea, Macau and the Philippines.

Taiwanese startup airline StarLux Airlines, which started operations on Jan. 23 and has been forced to suspend flights with Macau and Penang, said it is also considering cutting its only remaining Taoyuan-Da Nang route.

More : https://focustaiwan.tw/business/202003170024
 

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Taiwan's regional carriers to suspend online check-in

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Two of Taiwan's regional carriers are temporarily suspending their online check-in service for domestic flights to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the airlines have announced.

Uni Air, a subsidiary of international carrier EVA Air, and Mandarin Airlines, a subsidiary of Taiwan's national carrier China Airlines, said Saturday they will suspend online check-in services and inflight beverages starting Monday until the end of the month.

Uni Air will also stop issuing electronic boarding passes, while Mandarin Airlines will stop early check-in services during that period, they said.

Passengers will be required to check in and select seats directly at the airport, the airlines said, and people with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or over will not be allowed to board.

Passengers will also need to wear a face mask at all times during the flight, the airlines said.

Source : Taiwan's regional carriers to suspend online check-in - Focus Taiwan
 

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FAT chairman held incommunicado, bail revoked
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Taipei, April 2 (CNA) The Taipei District Court ordered Thursday that Chang Kang-wei (張綱維), chairman of Far Eastern Air Transport Corp. (FAT), be detained and held incommunicado on charges of fraud and embezzlement.

The Taipei District Court approved Chang's incommunicado detention two days after prosecutors appealed its decision to release him on bail after a preliminary hearing of the case.

According to prosecutors, Chang was charged in connection with false property declarations, fraud and embezzlement.

He has been under investigation since FAT abruptly canceled all its flights last December and laid off nearly 1,000 employees, citing financial problems.

A month later, the government revoked the airline's civil aviation flight permit, and its air rights for domestic and international flights were reassigned to other carriers.

Prosecutors have since been investigating the nature of the company's financial problems.

More : FAT chairman held incommunicado, bail revoked - Focus Taiwan
 

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Virus Outbreak: KMT sets timer for CAL name change
Taipei Times Excerpt
Apr 15, 2020

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday set a timer to calculate the number of days it would take for China Airlines (CAL) to change its name to Taiwan Airlines after Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) reiterated his support for the name-change campaign on Monday, adding that it dared the transportation minister to rename the airline.

Whether the airline’s name should be changed has become a subject of heated debate after it was entrusted with the task of transporting masks and other disease-prevention materials to countries severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline’s name, which was also displayed on the containers of the materials, has led some people to think that the materials were donated by China, not Taiwan.

Asked about it yesterday, Lin said: “We welcome the KMT and the public brainstorming ideas for Taiwan to be recognized for its efforts. The party may have tried to generate conversation about the topic by setting up a timer, but by doing so it inadvertently exposed its own problems... If it truly embraces Taiwan, it should set a timer for itself, counting the days until it changes its name to the Taiwan Nationalist Party.”

People likely care more about when the party will change its name than when the airline is to be renamed, Lin added.

Changing the airline’s name would require the public and politicians to reach a consensus, Lin said, adding that it is also a matter for the airline’s management.

More : Virus Outbreak: KMT sets timer for CAL name change - Taipei Times
 

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Minister directs China Airlines to better publicize Taiwan's image
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Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Wednesday that he has directed Taiwan-based China Airlines (CAL) to find ways to better highlight the country's image, amid public calls for the airline's name to be changed .

CAL is already considering ways to avoid confusion because of its name, which sometimes causes issues because it implies that the airline is Chinese, Lin said.

Speaking at a legislative hearing, Lin said some of the ideas being floated include using more "Taiwan symbols" without compromising CAL's freedoms of the air privileges.

However, the ministry is also open to a name change as long as there is public consensus, Lin said in the hearing in response to legislators' questions about the airline, which is Taiwan's flagship carrier.

In recent days, there have been public concerns that CAL's name would undercut the goodwill Taiwan is hoping to gain by donating millions of surgical face masks to other countries, as it could mislead people overseas into thinking the donations are from China.

More : Minister directs China Airlines to better publicize Taiwan's image - Focus Taiwan
 

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Virus Outbreak: Bailout briefing rerouted by CAL debate
Taipei Times Excerpt
Apr 16, 2020

The cost of renaming China Airlines (CAL) was the subject of heated debate between Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and several lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Lawmakers opposed to the idea said that the name change would cost the nation approximately NT$1.1 billion (US$36.63 million), as well as the reputation the airline has built over the years.

Lin, who has said he was open to the change, was scheduled to brief lawmakers about the government’s bailout plans for airlines, transportation companies and tourism agencies hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, but lawmakers’ questions focused on the renewed calls in the past few days to change CAL’s name.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) asked Lin if any countries had actually mistaken Taiwan for China when they saw the banners that China Airlines hung on containers of mask donations sent by the government.

Lin said that there had been a few, but did not name them.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has estimated that changing the airline’s name would cost the nation at least NT$1.1 billion, Hung said as he highlighted other issues raised by agency.

Any change in aviation pacts with other nations, including the names of airlines, would require official approval from all those involved in the pact, and delays in reaching such an agreement on a name change could have an immediate effect on the airline’s operations, CAA data showed.

More : Virus Outbreak: Bailout briefing rerouted by CAL debate - Taipei Times
 

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CAL, union to negotiate salary cuts at all levels
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Taipei, April 19 (CNA) State-controlled China Airlines (CAL) will negotiate salary cuts at all levels with its employees on Monday, the corporate union confirmed Saturday, as COVID-19 has brought the airline industry to a virtual standstill.

China Airlines Employees' Union president Liu Hui-tsung (劉惠宗) said the union's position is that any further cuts in salary should start with management, and its scope should be greater than that applied to rank and file workers.

The airline reduced the salary of CAL management by 10 percent on Feb. 16, but further wage adjustments are likely pending discussions between the company and the union, CAL spokesman Jason Liu (劉朝洋) said.

The planned negotiations came after rumors emerged of a 20 percent cut in salary for all CAL employees starting in May, with a possible cut of employee allowances as well.

Though airlines in Taiwan have encouraged employees to take leave accrued to them, there have not yet been layoffs or furloughs in the industry.

More : CAL, union to negotiate salary cuts at all levels - Focus Taiwan
 

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Taiwan to extend ban on transit passengers, cross-strait flights
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Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Taiwan will maintain its restrictions on flights to and from China and its entry ban on transit passengers after the initial end date later this month, as the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of abating, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.

The suspension of flights between Taiwan and most of China, which was initially implemented from February Feb. 10 to April 29, will be extended to an indefinite date, depending on how the pandemic situation develops, the CECC said.

Currently, Taiwan allows cross-strait flights to and from only five destinations in China - Beijing; Pudong and Hongqiao in Shanghai; Xiamen in Fujian; and Chengdu in Sichuan.

The CECC said its ban on the entry of airline transit passengers, which was imposed March 24 to April 7, will also be extended indefinitely.

The travel restrictions are being maintained as part of the government's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has peaked in Europe and the United States and continues to spread across Asia and Central and South America, the CECC said.

More : Taiwan to extend ban on transit passengers, cross-strait flights - Focus Taiwan
 

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EVA Air reports net loss in Q1 due to COVID-19 pandemic
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Taipei, May 13 (CNA) EVA Airways, one of the major international carriers in Taiwan, on Wednesday reported a net loss of more than NT$1.2 billion (US$40.13 million) for the first quarter of the year, citing slow demand due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, EVA Air said it suffered a net loss of NT$1.221 billion in the January-March period, compared with a net profit of NT$1.91 billion in the same period last year.

With those figures, the company posted a first-quarter loss per share of NT$0.25, plunging from an earnings per share of NT$0.40 in the first three months of 2019.

The carrier said its consolidated sales for the first quarter of 2020 plummeted 31.8 percent from a year earlier to NT$30.23 billion, with revenue generated by passenger flights in the first quarter down 28.1 percent year-on-year to NT$18.64 billion, as the pandemic forced lockdowns in many countries.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EVA Air said, its passenger numbers in the first quarter dropped 26.1 percent from a year earlier.

More : EVA Air reports net loss in Q1 due to COVID-19 pandemic - Focus Taiwan
 

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StarLux to resume limited operations next month
Taipei Times Excerpt
May 16, 2020

StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) plans to resume operations next month by offering three flights from Taiwan to Macau each week and one weekly flight to Penang, Malaysia, citing easing conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The start-up airline, which on Jan. 23 began operations by providing daily flights from Taiwan to Macau, Penang and Da Nang, Vietnam, canceled most of its flights in February and suspended operations completely in the middle of March as the novel coronavirus spread.

“As the pandemic has been gradually contained in Taiwan, we decided to reopen [services] phase by phase, starting with a few flights and likely increasing the scale based on the market situation,” StarLux general manager Glenn Chai (翟健華) told reporters in Taipei yesterday.

From June 1, Starlux is to offer three round-trip flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Macau International Airport each on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, instead of its original schedule of three daily flights, Chai said.

It would also operate one round-trip flight from Taoyuan to Penang International Airport every Thursday, Chai said.

More : Virus Outbreak: StarLux to resume limited operations next month - Taipei Times
 

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Okinawa to be first Japanese destination for StarLux
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Taipei, May 26 (CNA) Taiwanese startup carrier StarLux Airlines, which began operations in January, said Tuesday that it has received permission from the Japanese government to fly to Okinawa from July 1 at the earliest.

The scenic islands in southern Japan will be the first Japanese destination for the carrier, said StarLux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維), adding that the actual flight inauguration date will depend upon the situation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, the airline said it will resume certain flights to Macau and Malaysia's Penang in June as the pandemic eases.

StarLux said that as the situation allows, it will provide services between Taoyuan and Macau on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from June 1.

Starting on June 11, the carrier will operate flights between Taoyuan and Penang on Thursdays.

More : Okinawa to be first Japanese destination for StarLux - Focus Taiwan
 
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