Sun, Aug 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Shandong Airlines to drop Hualien flights

Staff writer, with CNA

Shandong Airlines on Thursday announced that it would cancel charter flights between Jinan, China, and Hualien from Aug. 24, a fresh blow to Taipei following Beijing’s ban on independent travelers visiting Taiwan on Aug. 1.

The weekly charter flights that were initially scheduled to run every Saturday until Oct. 26, would be halted due to “plan adjustments,” the Chinese airline said.

Hualien Tourism Department Director Tang Yu-shu (唐玉書) expressed deep regret over the development and urged the airline to “not mix politics and economics.”

After a three-year hiatus, the airline resumed charter flights to Hualien on July 1, with each flight capable of carrying 160 passengers.

The load factor on the five round-trip flights since July 6 has averaged about 90 percent, said Hualien County Travel Agency Association chairman Wu Yung-chang (吳永昌), adding that the majority of passengers have been members of Chinese tour groups.

Taiwanese have also booked to fly with Shandong Airlines through late October, he said, adding that about 10 flights would be affected.

Passengers who have booked tickets would receive a full refund or would have have to fly from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, he said.

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