Fri, Jul 12, 2002 - Page 11 News List

Fatalities aside, survey says CAL `healthy'

A COMFORTABLE RIDE A recent poll of tour leaders and travel agents indicated that despite its record of fatal crashes, CAL ranks extremely high in in-flight comfort

By Richard Dobson  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite being statistically one of the most dangerous carriers in the world, China Airlines Co (中華航空) is apparently considered one of the "healthiest" ways to travel to and from Taiwan, according to a local poll.

In a survey of tour leaders and travel agents, Common Health (康健雜誌) magazine -- a sister publication of the popular CommonWealth (天下雜誌) magazine -- reported in its July edition that respondents said that out of the 29 airlines that service routes to Taiwan, China Airlines ranked number two in terms of healthiness.

The measure of healthiness was arrived at by asking questions about such factors as seat comfort, service attitude, cabin space, in-flight meals, humidity, noise, audio and video entertainment, lavatory cleanliness and flight safety record.

Of the 905 surveys sent out, only 274 or 30.28 percent were returned prior to the China Airlines crash on May 25.

Singapore Airlines Ltd (新加坡航空) was found by respondents to be the healthiest airline, followed by China Airlines, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), Japan Asia Airlines (日亞航空) and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰 航空).

But while ranking number one in the individual categories of seat comfort, service attitude, in-flight meals and health information, China Airlines did not score high on flight safety, even though the survey was taken before the May crash.

However, the rankings appear to diverge from the statistics, as China Airlines was ranked at number six in terms of flight safety, despite the fact that the air carrier had been viewed as one of the most dangerous air carriers in the world, even prior to the crash.

Australia's Qantas Airlines, which has never experienced a fatal event was ranked just above China Airlines at number five.

`Healthy' while aloft

* A recent magazine survey revealed that tour leaders and travel agents believe that of all air carriers servicing Taiwan, only Singapore airlines ranks higher that China Airlines in terms of in-flight health.

* Paradoxically, the same respondents contended that airline safety is the second-most significant factor in assessing in-flight health.

Singapore Airlines, which suffered 83 fatalities at Taiwan's Chiang Kai Shek International Airport during a takeoff roll in October 2000, was ranked number one in this category, trailed by EVA and Cathay Pacific.

Remarkably, in light of China Airlines' strong showing, respondents ranked airline flight safety as the second most important factor in assessing in-flight health.

In the ten fatal incidents involving China Airlines flights since 1970, 801 passengers have perished, making it arguably the deadliest carrier in the world.

China Airlines over the weekend offered the families of victims of its May 25 crash NT$6.5 million per victim for emergency use. The disaster claimed 225 lives. The emergency funds will be deducted from the final amount of compensation paid. The amount of compensation has yet to be arrived at.

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