TransAsia Airways Corp (TNA, 復興航空), a listed carrier in Taiwan focusing on regional routes in Asia, yesterday took delivery of its first wide-body Airbus 330-300 aircraft from French-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS.
The new 300-seat plane, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, is scheduled to service routes to Singapore and Hokkaido, Japan, by the end of this year, a company official said.
“The delivery is leading TransAsia to the next era,” company chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) said at the delivery ceremony.
TransAsia placed orders for two A330-300s in November 2010, with the price per aircraft set at just under US$150 million, according to company data.
The second A330-300 aircraft is set to be delivered in January, boosting the carrier’s fleet to 20 aircrafts.
Lin expects that the two A330-300 planes will raise the carrier’s revenue by 25 percent to 30 percent next year from this year as they offer a 40 percent increase in seats for international routes operated by TransAsia.
With rising sales and the current level of fuel costs, Lin said he expected the carrier to generate a profit next year.
The price of jet fuel stood at US$124 per barrel as of Nov. 2, down 5 percent from a month ago, data offered by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed.
After the delivery of the A330-300 aircraft, TransAsia is looking to launch more regional services in Asia, with routes to Thailand and Malaysia expected to open next year, Lin said.
Meanwhile, the carrier will continue to expand routes to Japan, with a Taipei-Tokyo service scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of next year following the government’s open-skies policy, Lin said.
He said the carrier still welcomes investors with business experience in airline-related industries to invest in TransAsia.
“We will not opt out of any cooperation opportunities,” Lin said.
The private placement of NT$898 million (US$31 million) approved by TransAsia’s board of directors last year is also ongoing, Lin added.
TransAsia saw its net profit total NT$153.21 million, or NT$0.28 per share, in the first nine months of the year, to give it the highest earnings per share (EPS) among the nation’s three listed airlines, the carrier said in a statement.
Sales totaled NT$7.9 billion in the first 10 months of the year, up 8.56 percent from a year earlier, the statement said.
TransAisa’s shares rose 2.84 percent to close at NT$14.5 in Taipei trading yesterday, compared with the TAIEX’s 1.11 percent increase.