Fri, Dec 02, 2011 - Page 2 News List

MOTC to try to help US-based expats fly cheap

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) officials said yesterday that they would try to persuade local airlines to offer discounted tickets to Taiwanese expatriates from Japan and the US seeking to return home for the Lunar New Year holidays next month.

The holiday period falls on Jan. 23, just after the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said the ministry would work with the carriers involved to develop a coordinated approach so Taiwanese expats from Japan and the US can get cheap air tickets, like those available to their counterparts in China, for the holiday period.

At a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, Yeh said that at present, expats from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia had a greater likelihood of getting comparatively cheaper air tickets for the New Year holiday, as the number of seats offered by carriers plying these routes are bigger and the fares are routinely cheaper.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) confirmed that 265 additional cross-strait flights would be offered during the Lunar New Year holidays, including 87 flights by Taiwanese airlines and 178 from Chinese carriers.

More than half of the additional flights offered by the Taiwanese airlines are “red-eye flights,” which are defined as those departing from China after 12am.

The CAA has set different caps on airfares for cross-strait flights. Fares for flights from Shanghai at regular hours, for example, cannot exceed NT$15,000.

Passengers on “red-eye” flights must be given a 40 percent discount off the nominal price of the ticket, it said.

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