Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) resumed flight services yesterday after being grounded for two years because of financial problems.
The first flight leaving for Kinmen took off from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 9:30am.
FAT president Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) said at an inauguration ceremony that the airline would initially offer two daily flights between Taipei and Kaohsiung.
He said the company was planning to expand its flight services to Makong (馬公) and Kaohsiung and resume international flight services to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and to Palau.
Chang said the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) was planning to re-arrange cross-straight flight services either next month or in June, and FAT would be able to reclaim the 15 cross-strait flights previously reserved for the company before its services were suspended.
Those 15 cross-strait flights are currently shared equally by five other carriers — China Airlines, EVA Air, Uni Air, Mandarin Airlines and TransAsia Airways.
“The day we launch cross-strait flight services is the day we become profitable,” Chang said.
The CAA suspended FAT’s operations in 2008 because of financial problems and the airline’s management has changed several times since then.
The company filed a financial restructuring plan with the Taipei District Court, which approved the company’s plan in 2009.
Chang said many had doubted that the company would be able to start operations again.
“The CAA used the highest standards to examine our plan to resume flights and we also demanded the highest standards of ourselves,” Chang said, adding that the company would undertake quality maintenance and provide new services.
Chang, a property developer who took over FAT in July 2009, said the airline was funded entirely by his personal investment.
He added that the number of the staff had also grown from 40 to 500 under his leadership.
The company owns 10 aircraft, three of which have passed the CAA’s air worthiness test.