EVA Airways Corp (EVA Air, 長榮航空), one of the nation’s leading international carriers, yesterday said it would launch flights to more destinations in China later this month to capitalize on booming cross-strait tourism.
EVA Air, along with its subsidiary — Uni Airways Corp (立榮) — will fly between Taipei and Zhengzhou in Henan Province twice a week beginning on Friday and between Taipei and Jinan in Shandong Province once a week starting on Dec. 18, the carrier said.
Starting on Dec. 20, EVA Air will also operate one flight a week between Taichung and Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, adding to its current schedule of two flights a week between the cities and one flight a week between Kaohsiung and Ningbo.
The carrier said it would become the first Taiwanese airline to fly between Taipei and Jinan once the new services are launched.
In the initial phase, the Taipei-Jinan route will be operated on a charter basis, offering all the seats to travel agencies in China, because of strong interest from Jinan residents to visit Taiwan, the carrier said.
EVA Air added that it could increase the number of chartered flights in the future and eventually operate the route on a regular basis.
The airline expected loading rates on the Taipei-Jinan and Taipei-Zhengzhou routes to both be at least 80 percent.
Zhengzhou, which ranks among China’s top eight ancient cities, has long been a tourism attraction, but EVA Air also anticipates interest from business travelers.
Many major Taiwanese companies, such as Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), Want Want Holdings Ltd (旺旺控股), Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業) and Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團), have set up bases in Henan, leading the carrier to forecast that business passengers will account for about 20 percent of customers on the route.
The new flights will expand EVA Air’s cross-strait services to 77 round-trip flights between Taiwan and 17 destinations in China per week.
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