Cross-strait weekend charter flights, suffering from a decreased number of flight destinations, are “barely satisfactory,” Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lee Long-wen (李龍文) said yesterday.
Over the past 14 weeks since the charter flight services were launched, combined passenger trips on Taiwanese and Chinese carriers have reached approximately 200,000, with the passenger load factor averaging 84.8 percent, Lee said.
Taiwanese carriers are now operating flights from only two of Taiwan’s airports.
Lee made the remarks during a Transportation Committee question-and-answer session at the legislature yesterday morning.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said that she believed the performance of the weekend cross-strait charter flights deserved a rating of only 25 on a 100-point scale, because of the reduction in the number of flight destinations.
Refusing to rate the performance of the service, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Oliver Yu (游芳來) said the performance was “acceptable” because it meets demand.
Flight operations break even on a passenger load factor of 65 percent and the average passenger load factor has exceeded that level, Yu said.
Under an agreement reached between Taiwan and China in June in Beijing, five Chinese cities and eight Taiwanese destinations were opened to the non-stop weekend cross-strait charter flight services that were launched on July 4.
The locations were Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing in China, and Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Penghu, Hualien, Kinmen and Taitung in Taiwan.
While five Taiwanese airlines companies provided flights from Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Penghu and Hualien during the first month, flights have been limited to Taipei and Kaohsiung since August.
Meanwhile, the government and the private sector are joining forces to develop the tourism industry by employing a series of incentives and integrating policies to promote Taiwan as “Asia’s finest tourist destination,” Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said yesterday.
Speaking at the 69th Skal World Congress — an annual convention of professionals from the international travel and tourism industry — Mao said Taiwan offers the most unique and friendly traveling experience.
The government launched a “Tour Taiwan 2008-2009” program on Feb. 15 with an injection of NT$1 billion (US$31.25 million) in the tourism industry, with a goal of 4 million tourists this year and 4.25 million next year.
“We are trying to establish a high quality and unique tourism brand to make Taiwan Asia’s finest tourist destination,” Mao said.
“Our goal is not only to attract more tourists but also to increase their level of satisfaction and desire to visit Taiwan again,” Mao said.
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