EVA announces new chairman

PEER COMPETITION::China Airlines introduced new in-flight food services designed by four famed Taiwanese chefs to boost economy-class ticket sales

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 26, 2012 - Page 13

EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空), the nation’s second-largest airline, announced yesterday that its president, Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), has been promoted to chairman of the company, taking effect on Tuesday next week.

Chang will replace James Jeng (鄭光遠), who will stay on as a member of the company’s board of directors, but will also take over as the chairman of the EVA’s subsidiary, Uni Airways Corp (立榮航空).

EVA’s board also appointed Austin Cheng (鄭傳義), executive vice president of the airline’s project division, to take over the position left vacant by Chang.

“The airline industry has been highly competitive over the past few years, which put some pressure on him [Chang] to take the position of chairman,” EVA spokesperson Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) said by telephone yesterday.

However, Nieh was upbeat about the carrier’s potential sales performance and profitability under Chang’s leadership.

Nieh said the carrier’s priority is to officially join Star Alliance — the largest airline alliance in the world — by the first half of next year, and the company has been already begun the integration process with other members of the alliance.

Chang, 42, is the youngest son of Evergreen Group (長榮集團) founder Chang Yung-fa (張榮發). He has been the president of EVA since December 2010.

Last month, Chang said EVA would focus on short-haul and medium-haul regional lines next year, eyeing the greater potential in cross-strait routes amid a stronger economic sentiment in Asia’s emerging markets.

The carrier also announced plans to sell NT$6.5 billion (US$223.14 million) in bonds next year to repay loans.

The amount of debt issued next year is set to be the same as this year, with the company not opting out of announcing additional bond plans next year.

In other news, China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, yesterday introduced new in-flight food services for economy-class passengers in a bid to boost sales.

The new Chinese-styled meals, designed by four famous Taiwanese chefs, will be offered on long-haul routes and regional routes in Northeast Asia from February next year, CAL said in a statement.

CAL president Sun Hung-hsiang (孫洪祥) said in October that he maintained a cautiously optimistic view of the company’s profitability in the fourth quarter, with the movement of global oil prices and the performance of the cargo industry being the greatest areas of uncertainty in the sector.