Sat, Dec 22, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Tigerair says net profit to increase to NT$1bn

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Tigerair Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航), a low-cost carrier subsidiary of China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), yesterday said that its net profit was forecast to increase from NT$573 million (US$18.6 million) last year to NT$1 billion this year, thanks to improved flight schedules and pricing strategies.

This year might be the second profitable year for the carrier following a turnaround last year, Tigerair Taiwan chairman Chang Ho-jo (張鴻鐘) said.

Launched in 2014, Tigerair Taiwan at the end of 2016 reported accumulated losses of NT$1.5 billion.

The carrier is likely to offset those losses this year if net profit is at least NT$1 billion, Chang said.

It reported better-than-expected net profit of NT$674 million for the first half, despite rising oil prices pushing operating costs higher, Tigerair Taiwan spokesman Bernard Hsu (許致遠) told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.

Every US$1 increase in oil prices would raise costs by NT$2 million per month, Hsu said.

“We made a lot of adjustments to schedules this year to increase ridership,” which helped boost revenue and profit, Hsu said.

Passenger numbers for the year reached 2.3 million at the end of September, compared with 3.7 million from 2014 to last year, he said.

The company previously offered charter services to second-tier cities in Japan, including Asahikawa, Hanamaki, Saga and Ibaraki, but this year turned to regular routes to attract more passengers, Hsu said.

Tigerair Taiwan runs 14 routes between Taiwan and Japan, on a par with China Airlines, but more than EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), he said.

The carrier reported that passenger capacity was 84 percent as of the end of September, higher than 81 percent for all of last year and 71 percent in 2016.

Ridership fell below 50 percent last month, as people stayed in Taiwan to vote in the nine-in-one elections, but a profitable fourth quarter is still possible, it said.

Tigerair Taiwan has found that most people tend to buy tickets just before departing, while in the past almost all passengers booked well ahead of departure, Hsu said.

“As long as prices are cheap, we can generate higher revenue, but it is a pity we cannot determine passenger numbers until the last minute,” Hsu said.

Meanwhile, StarLux Airlines (星宇航空) on Tuesday announced that recruitment would open next year for more than 200 people, mostly for information technology and airplane maintenance jobs, while it also plans to recruit more flight attendants.

Staff numbers are expected to hit 1,000 before 2020 from 300 currently, StarLux said.

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