The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said that Global Airlines was disqualified from operating flights to remote areas due to its failure to secure the aircraft needed to launch services on time and to offer an alternative solution to ensure that flights would not be disrupted.
Global Airlines in October last year was chosen as the best applicant to operate five routes to remote areas: from Taitung to Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼); from Taitung to Green Island (綠島); from Kaohsiung to Cimei (七美); from Kaohsiung to Wangan (望安); and from Magong (馬公) to Cimei.
The company was scheduled to begin operations in January, replacing the current operator, Daily Air.
However, the airline asked to postpone the launch of the services because of funding issues.
The agency asked the airline to submit a plan on how it aimed to address funding and other relevant issues.
CAA Air Transport Division Director Han Chen-hua (韓振華) yesterday confirmed that Global Airlines’ plan was officially rejected by the agency.
“The plan did not match the company’s original business plan, and the solutions the firm proposed to solve the problems caused by the delayed launch of its operations would disrupt normal operations on these five routes,” he said.
“The CAA then sent an official notice to Global on Friday last week, informing the company that its qualification to operate these flight routes had been canceled,” Han said. “It has been given seven days to respond to the ruling.”
The CAA said Daily Air would resume operations on the five routes as the second-best applicant after the administrative procedures to disqualify Global Airlines are completed.
Global Airlines chairman Chu Chih-peng (朱志鵬) said the company was given until Monday next week to respond to the ruling.
However, the CAA had already ruled out the company’s involvement before the deadline, which is “ridiculous,” Chu said, adding that the firm has not ruled out the possibility of filing lawsuits against the CAA.
Chu accused the agency of breaking the law.
When the company bid for the contract to operate on the routes, the distance of the runway on Green Island was listed as 992m, Chu said.
The listed runway length was shortened to 917m after bidding was complete, which might create conditions that would leave the company’s ATR 42 aircraft unable to safely land on the island, he said, adding that the CAA’s unexpected change led to banks’ withdrawals of their loan offers.
Both the minister of transportation and communications and the director-general of the CAA had said that Global Airlines could postpone commencement of its operations for no more than six months, Chu said.
However, both men were only interested in securing their offices by promising that flights to outlying islands would not be suspended in January, Chu said.
It was a political decision that left Global as the scapegoat, he added.