The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday that it would halt its plan to negotiate with South Korea about increasing the number of direct flights between Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Gimpo International Airport because the passenger occupancy rate was lower than expected.
The Songshan-Gimpo direct flight service, launched in April this year, is part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign promise of building a “northeast Asia aviation circle.” The circle also includes direct flight service from Songshan airport to Haneda airport, as well as to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.
Under the aviation pact with South Korea, each side may dispatch seven flights per week. Both had agreed to negotiate over the possibility of increasing the flights at the end of this year.
However, CAA figures showed the average passenger occupancy rate for a Songshan-Gimpo flight was between 50 and 60 percent. Both Songshan-Haneda and Songshan-Hongqiao services have rates exceeding 80 percent.
The CAA said there was no urgent demand to increase flights between Songshan and Gimpo, so it would not request an increase in the number of flights at this time.
The agency has granted the exclusive right to operate Songshan-Gimpo flights to China Airlines and EVA Air. In South Korea, the flights are operated by budget airlines Tway Air and Easter Jet.
The Tourism Bureau has said the flights have boosted the number of South Korean visitors to Taiwan by 5.19 percent from the same period last year.