Thu, Aug 18, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Vienna-bound seat sales hits record high, CAL says

Staff Writer, with CNA, BERLIN

China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), Taiwan’s largest international carrier, sold a record percentage of seats on its Taipei-to-Vienna route last month, fueled in part by a visa-waiver program for Taiwanese travelers to Europe that took effect early in the year, a CAL executive in Austria said on Tuesday.

CAL’s nonstop flights between Taipei and Vienna had a load factor of about 94 percent in all cabins and 98.98 percent in economy class last month, according to An Long-chi (安隆祺), the airline’s general manager in Austria.

RECORD HIGH

The 94 percent load factor was the highest ever on the route, which CAL flies three times a week, and 12 percent higher than in July last year.

An said a program giving Republic of China passport holders visa exemptions for travel to Schengen Area countries, which took effect on Jan. 11, has led to an increase in the number of Taiwanese tourists to Europe, and airline load factors have benefited.

In the second quarter of this year, the average load factor on the Vienna-to-Taipei route grew by 14.2 percent year-on-year to 88.83 percent for all cabins, and by 14 percent in economy class to 91.37 percent, An said.

REGIONAL HUB

Vienna, located in the heart of central Europe, is the region’s major hub to other destinations.

At the same time, many Austrian and Eastern European visitors have chosen the nonstop route to Taipei because of the convenience of transiting to destinations in Southeast Asia, An said.

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