EVA Airways president Derek Chen (陳憲弘) yesterday said that the recent decline in the number of Chinese tour groups to Taiwan has had little effect on the airline’s revenue, adding that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the carrier’s performance in the fourth quarter.
Chen said sales of cross-strait flights generally account for about 11 percent of the airline’s revenues and that has not changed much in the third quarter, when travel industry insiders reported a sharp decline in Chinese tour groups.
The company has made adjustments to remain profitable on routes between Taiwan and China, Chen said during a promotional event in Taipei.
In some cases, routes that were not economically viable were canceled, while in others the airline adopted smaller aircraft to account for smaller passenger numbers, he said.
Suspended routes include flights between Taichung and Hangzhou, Taichung and Nanjing and Kaohsiung and Qingdao, the airline said.
While the decline in the number of Chinese visitors in recent months has not had a significant impact on EVA Air, whose niche market is North America, the trend could adversely affect airlines dependent on passenger traffic between Taiwan and China.
According to Tourism Bureau data, about 300,000 Chinese nationals visited Taiwan in July, down 15 percent from the same period last year, after declines of about 12 percent in both May and June.
Industry insiders have suggested that the decline might have intensified last month and this month, but Tourism Bureau figures have yet to be released.
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