Thu, Jul 26, 2007 - Page 2 News List

CAA proposal to suspend flight denied by MOTC

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) said yesterday that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has rejected its proposal to immediately suspend flights between Taipei and Chiayi.

Meanwhile, the CAA was further instructed to evaluate the performance of each domestic flight route and submit a comprehensive report to the ministry.

CAA vice director Lin Shinn-der (林信得) said that it might submit the results to the ministry next week, but added that the proposed suspension of Taipei-Chiayi flights is "very likely" to be approved.

Lin said that since the flight schedule for next month has been finalized, Taipei-Chiayi flights could be canceled in September or October.

Currently, Uni Air is the only carrier operating the Taipei-Chiayi route. Last month the carrier reported that the passenger occupancy percentage had slipped to 28 percent. Starting this month, the number of Taipei-Chiayi flights has further dropped to two per day.

Lin said the airline has tried to work with travel service providers to bring travelers to Chiayi, but the county itself lacks popular tourists spots to attract travelers.

"It [the airline] will `bleed' if the ticket price goes down any further," he said.

On the other hand, Lin said Uni will offer service between Taipei and Hengchun (恆春) in exchange for more flight quotas at the Taichung Airport, adding that the airline has agreed to provide one flight per day.

According to Lin, passengers traveling through Taichung Airport have grown tremendously in recent years because many airlines have developed charter flight services to Japan or Southeast Asian countries.

For the moment, Uni only has one quota in Taichung because of its charter flight to Japan. Once the agreement takes effect, the flight departure quota will be increased to three.

Lin also announced yesterday that quite a few weekly flights had been canceled for August because of Ghost Month, which officially begins on the 13th of next month.

Among the most significant cuts, 20 weekly flights have been cut from Taipei to Tainan, 14 from Taipei to Magong (馬公) of Penghu County and 20 from Kaohsiung to Magong.

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