The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday confirmed that carrier Global Airlines would not be permitted to begin flights to the nation’s outlying islands in January next year, as the airline requested a postponement to the official launch date of the services.
The airline last year secured the routes to fly from Taitung to Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), Taitung to Green Island (綠島), Kaohsiung to Cimei (七美), Kaohsiung to Wangan (望安) and Magong (馬公) to Cimei.
The company was scheduled to launch flights on Jan. 1 using aircraft purchased from Polish manufacture PZL Mielec.
However, the company was unable to secure ownership of the aircraft in August due to funding issues, and requested a postponement of the official launch date, the administration said.
According to the CAA, the airline also submitted plans to address funding and other issues, which the administration is currently reviewing.
If the plan is approved by the CAA, the airline would be given no more than six months to resolve operation-related problems.
To ensure the ongoing operation of the routes, the administration said it is negotiating with Daily Air — the current carrier of the routes — to continue the service.
However, Daily Air said it is only obligated to continue the flights until the end of this year. As Global was forced to delay the launch of its operation, Daily Air said the administration should first terminate Global’s concession to ensure Daily Air would not face legal issues when Global is asked to take over.
PZL Mielec was reported to have canceled its contract with Global as the carrier failed to make payments on time. The manufacturer was said to have later approached Daily Air in the hope of selling the aircraft.
However, Daily Air turned down the offer because it was not granted the concession to operate the island flight routes.
In 2004, Daily Air obtained exclusive rights to fly the five island routes that had been operated by Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines. Daily Air also took over four Dornier aircraft used by the two carriers.
As the four Dornier aircraft are soon to be decommissioned, the administration in 2013 held a bid for carriers wanting to offer services on the island routes.
Though Daily Air secured the concession again, it was later disqualified because of funding problems and its guarantee money of NT$5 million (US$153,785 at current exchange rates) was confiscated by the administration.
The administration raised the guarantee to NT$20 million in last year’s bid, and Global was selected as the most qualified applicant.
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