Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Mandarin Airlines launches fleet for domestic routes

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Mandarin Airlines displays one of its new fleet of ATR 72-600 aircraft at a news conference at its Taipei International Airport hangar yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Mandarin Airlines (華信航空), a subsidiary of China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), yesterday inaugurated its new fleet of ATR 72-600 aircraft, in time for next month’s Lunar New Year holiday.

Two of the new aircraft have reached the fourth stage of the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s five-stage certification process, and the carrier is expected to deploy the airplanes for flights to the nation’s outlying islands and other domestic routes, Mandarin Airlines chairman Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) said at the inauguration ceremony at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport).

The new routes are to include daily flights between Kaohsiung and Penghu County’s Magong City; between Taichung and Hualien County; and between Taipei and Magong City, Hsieh said.

Mandarin Airlines plans to expand its ATR 72-600 fleet to nine aircraft before the end of 2020, Hsieh said.

The carrier took delivery of three aircraft at the end of last year, and expects to receive another two in June or July, he said.

Previously, the airline operated domestic routes with its fleet of Brazilian-made Embraer SA E190 twin-engine regional jets, which led to steep losses due to high fuel and operating costs, Hsieh said.

The new fleet allows the carrier to improve flight frequency to the outlying islands and other domestic destinations, he added.

The Embraer jets are designed for flights of between one-and-a-half hours and two hours, which is not ideal for domestic flights, as they average between 30 minutes and 40 minutes flight time, Hsieh said.

The ATR 72-600 are turboprops, which are ideal for short-haul flights and fuel efficiency, he said, adding that the aircraft also has lower emissions.

Although the airline is focused on improving its domestic routes, it would continue its international flights to cities in China, which are served by its fleet of Boeing Co 737-800 aircraft.

CAL chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒), who also attended the ceremony, said that the company has inked agreements with a number of foreign partners to improve pilot training and maintenance for the ATR 72-600.

CAL canceled plans to purchase ATR 72-600’s that were operated by now-defunct TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空), because it declined to consent to in-depth inspections prior to sale, Ho said.

CAL has acquired TransAsia Airway’s hangar at Songshan airport to service the new fleet, he said.

This story has been viewed 2156 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top