EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), the nation’s second-largest air carrier, expects to increase flights on all cross-strait routes to at least three a week, thereby enhancing economies of scale and boosting passenger traffic, a company official said yesterday.
Meanwhile, EVA is likely to announce its membership of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, before the end of the first quarter, another driver of passenger business, EVA president Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒) said.
Chang did not provide details of how EVA would benefit from its membership of the alliance.
The nation’s largest air carrier, China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), joined the SkyTeam Alliance, the other major global airline alliance, in September last year. At that time, CAL president Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) said joining the alliance would boost its revenue by an estimated NT$1 billion to NT$2 billion (US$33.68 million to US$67.35 million) this year.
Commenting on future expansion in China, Chang said: “For those routes in China on which we now operate one or two flights a week, we hope to raise weekly flights to three.”
At present, the air carrier has just one or two flights a week from Taoyuan to Xian, Kaohsiung to Zhengzhou, Kaohsiung to Kunming and Kaohsiung to Tianjin.
Chang made the remarks on the sidelines of a press conference promoting its popular “Hello Kitty” aircraft.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election would help maintain a stable relationship between Taiwan and China, further driving up the possibility of increased flights, from the current quota of 558 flights a week across the Taiwan Strait, Chang said.
However, Chang said he did not see much demand for flights to more destinations in China, as current cross-strait routes served almost all provincial capitals.
In addition, Chang said he expected the company’s passenger sector revenue to remain as strong as last year, with cross-strait routes the main driver in the first half of the year.
Japanese routes would be the other main focus for EVA’s passenger business this year, Chang said, adding that revenue from Japanese routes this year is expected to rebound to the level before the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year.
Nevertheless, Chang was more pessimistic about the company’s cargo business this year amid the continuous uncertainties facing the global economy.