TransAsia Airways (復興航空) said yesterday that it would cut its ticket prices for direct flights from Taipei or Taichung to Shanghai by 20 percent from Friday next week.
At present, a three-month advance ticket costs NT$19,000 (US$602). After the new price is introduced, the same flight would cost NT$15,200.
The announcement came a day after China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) reduced its tickets prices for flights to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen by about 20 percent.
In a statement on the carrier’s Web site on Wednesday, CAL said the new price plan, which applies to 26 weekly flights departing from or landing at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport or Kaohsiung International Airport, would take effect on Friday next week.
The price reductions by TransAsia and CAL are for passengers flying economy class.
TransAsia said its flights to Shanghai cost about NT$200 less than those offered by CAL.
EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), meanwhile, said it would cut prices by between 11 and 20 percent, also starting next Friday.
Figures released by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) showed that CAL and its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines (華信航空), accounted for 48.4 percent of the cross-strait market.
EVA Airways and Uni Airways Corp (立榮航空) collectively hold a 39.8 percent share of the market and TransAsia 11.8 percent.
CAA Director-General Lee Lung-wen (李龍文) said it was only a matter of time before all carriers followed suit.
“The airline companies fulfill their social responsibilities and align themselves with public opinion, which is commendable,” Lee said.
He said that cross-strait flights were still more expensive than other flights because of the small amount of departures.
“The number of flights between Hong Kong and Shanghai is four times that between Taipei and Shanghai, and the number of flights between Hong Kong and Beijing is seven times that between Taipei and Beijing,” Lee said.
“If we had as many flights as are available between Hong Kong and Shanghai, or between Hong Kong and Beijing, prices would naturally drop,” Lee said.
So far, the demand still exceeds supply, he said.
Taiwan and China planned to hold negotiations on cross-strait flights this month, but Lee said the talks could be postponed until next month.
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