China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, is looking to launch new routes and increase flights on some routes to compete with budget airlines, its president said yesterday.
Despite the competition, the airline industry may have also benefited from the entry of low-cost carriers, as they have boosted passenger revenues, CAL president Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference on the company’s partnership with W Taipei.
“In the wake of various low-cost carriers entering the market over the past few years, passenger demand has increased,” he said.
The stronger demand helped regular carriers, like CAL, to expand some routes and flights, Sun added.
Using the Malaysia route as an example, Sun said CAL plans to increase flights between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur this year, as the flourishing of Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia has increased the number of tourists coming from Malaysia to Taiwan.
CAL may change its Hawaii flights to non-stop flights in June or July, as the US visa waiver program has boosted Taiwanese interest in visiting Hawaii, he said.
However, competition from low-cost carriers has also made regular airlines cautious about raising ticket prices.
CAL will experiment with a new marketing strategy over the next month of selling some tickets cheaper online, mostly on routes with lower passenger loading rates, he said.
The average ticket price for a regular carrier would be 10 percent to 15 percent higher than that of a low-cost carrier, Sun said.
Meanwhile, CAL and W Taipei — a luxury hotel backed by Uni-President Group (統一集團) — have joined together to launch new in-flight cuisine, with four contemporary menus created by chefs from the hotel’s YEN Chinese restaurant (紫豔中餐廳).
The menus will be served in first-class and business-class on routes from Taipei to the US, Japan and China, CAL said in a statement.
Four signature cocktails from W Taipei’s Woobar will also be served onboard long-haul flights, the statement said.
CAL posted a net profit of NT$384.31 million (US$13.23 million), or NT$0.08 per share, in the first three quarters of last year, up about 60 percent from NT$0.05 in the same period in 2011, the airline said in a stock exchange filing.