Mon, Jan 28, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Direct Taoyuan-Moscow flights could begin in May

Staff writer, with CNA

Royal Flight is expected to launch regular flights between Russia and Taiwan later this year, the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

While it has received a letter from Russia’s civil aviation authorities designating Royal Flight to offer regular air services to Taiwan, it has yet to receive a flight schedule application from the airline, the agency said.

Royal Flight plans to launch weekly nonstop scheduled service between Moscow and Taipei on May 25, using Boeing 767-300 planes with more than 300 seats, said Air Service, the travel agency in Taiwan representing the airline.

The flights would take about 10-and-a-half hours, with the flight to Taiwan departing Moscow at 10:30pm on Friday and arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on Saturday, while the return leg would depart at 5pm on Saturday and arrive in Moscow at 10pm, the travel agency said.

If the passenger load factor on the 21 flights scheduled so far is high enough, the airline would consider adding more, the travel agency said.

Royal Flight operated charter services to Taiwan in 2016 and 2017, and the passenger load factor averaged more than 80 percent, Air Service said.

Russia’s Transaero Airlines operated direct Moscow-Taoyuan flights in 2014 and 2015 via Bangkok in cooperation with China Airlines (CAL), but financial difficulties forced Transaero to cease operations in late 2015.

Royal Flight’s planned launch of service comes amid the government’s trial period for a 14-day visa-waiver program for Russians that began on Sept. 6 last year and is set to run through July 31, as part of its efforts to attract tourists from high-latitude countries.

Taipei 101 chairman Chang Hsueh-shun (張學舜), who hosted a visit by a Russian travel agency group last year, said that 40 million Russians travel abroad every year, but fewer than 10,000 of them come to Taiwan — and that most of those who do are on business.

Russia is a great potential source of tourists, Chang said.

The Tourism Bureau said it would work this year on developing the Russian market, including attending travel fairs in Russia.

It also plans to establish a tourism information service center to help attract Russian tourist, the bureau said.

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