Sat, Feb 16, 2019 - Page 1 News List

CAL says personnel costs to jump NT$114m

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

China Airlines chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan, right, yesterday waves to reporters while visiting the company’s ground staff at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport who have been working extra hours due to a pilots’ strike.

Photo: CNA

China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) yesterday said that its personnel costs would increase by an estimated NT$114 million (US$3.7 million) per year due to the need to dispatch more pilots based on an agreement reached with the Taoyuan Union of Pilots on Thursday.

Under the agreement, the carrier from next month would need to dispatch three pilots on flights longer than eight hours and four pilots on flights that exceed 12 hours, with 30 flights per week requiring more pilots, China Airlines spokesman Jason Liu (劉朝洋) told the Taipei Times by telephone.

The airline’s agreement to dispatch more pilots on five specific routes would also increase its operational costs, he said.

The firm agreed to dispatch three pilots on round-trip cargo flights to Anchorage, Alaska, and New York City, as well as four pilots on red-eye cargo flights to Chongqing, China, and on passenger flights to Xian, China, and Palau.

Passenger flights to Guam would continue to have two pilots, but the carrier has agreed that the pilots can spend a night in a hotel before their next flight.

Regular flights would resume today, China Airlines chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) said.

Of the 700 pilots who went on strike, about 450 have returned to work and all scheduled flights are to resume today, the airline said.

However, regarding future work shifts, Liu said that the carrier is still reviewing how many pilots are available.

“We already told the union during the negotiations that the new terms could not apply to all flights immediately, as the agreement will cause significant change in the company,” Liu said.

China Airlines estimated that it had lost about NT$500 million in revenue due to the cancelation of 214 flights during the strike, which began on Friday last week and ended on Thursday.

The carrier said that it would lose an additional NT$99 million in revenue for flights until Wednesday next week that were canceled.

As of press time last night, China Airlines’ Web site showed that 34 flights would be canceled until Wednesday, accounting for 3.1 percent of all flights.

In 2016, a flight attendants’ strike caused the airline to lose about NT$500 million and a subsequent agreement increased its personnel costs by NT$550 million per year.

By comparison, the pilots’ strike was less costly for the company, Liu said.

“However, the damage to the firm’s reputation is immeasurable,” he said. “We hope travelers will regain their confidence in China Airlines and choose to fly with us in the future, as the agreement that ended the strike is valid for the next three years.”

China Airlines shares yesterday dropped 0.49 percent to NT$10.1 in Taipei trading.

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