Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) proposed during a recent trip to Paris that flights between Taiwan and France be increased by revising the aviation pact between the two countries.
Yeh made the proposal in his meeting with Frederic Cuvillier, junior minister for transport and the maritime economy at the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.
The meeting was the nation’s highest-level transportation meeting with France, which was an achievement, considering that the two nations do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Yeh met with Cuvillier during his visit to the 50th International Paris Air Show at the end of last month. Aside from increasing the flights between Taiwan and France, Yeh also sought France’s support for Taiwan’s bid to enter the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
He also said he welcomed more French to visit Taiwan.
At the informal meeting with Cuvillier, Yeh also mentioned the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project, a large urban planning development at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. He said that the project had reserved land for the development of the aerospace industry and welcomed interested aerospace firms from France to invest and set up operational bases.
The Taiwan-France aviation pact was inked in 1997 and allows each side to assign one flight carrier to offer direct flight services between Taoyuan and Paris. The pact allows each side to dispatch four flights a week.
EVA Air has the exclusive right to operate direct flights from Taiwan, while no carrier in France is interested in entering the market at the moment.
Statistics from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) showed that the average occupancy rate of the direct flights to Paris is about 80 percent. The average occupancy rates during non-peak months, such as April or May, is between 75 and 78 percent.
In other developments, Yeh visited the Nangan Airport in Matsu yesterday as the airport started using localizer type directional aid (LDA) and distance measuring equipment (DME) to guide the aircraft on runway No. 3.
The use of LDA/DME equipment allows the airport to lower the standard for the approach visibility from 4,800m to 3,200m, which would greatly increase the number of effective flights, Yeh said.
The CAA said that it is considering using the same navigational equipment for an additional runway at the airport.