Palau Airways forces tourists to cancel trips

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 - Page 3

More than 100 Taiwanese tourists were forced to cancel trips to Palau yesterday after Palau Airways announced on Tuesday that it would temporarily halt its operations in Taiwan due to problems with the leases of aircraft.

The airline began offering regular flights between Taipei and Palau in May last year. Currently, the airline offers one flight per week as it is the peak season. Travel agencies said there were 104 Taiwanese tourists due to fly to Palau when the airline made the announcement.

In response, the Tourism Bureau said that it was not the first time that an airline had canceled flights with little warning.

It added that the service was suspended because of personnel problems, not because of reasons beyond the control of the airline. As the tours were canceled the day before their departure, the travel agents are obligated to give full refunds to customers and offer compensation comparable to 50 percent of the cost of the tour.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration also asked the airline to carefully handle the disputes with its passengers and travel agencies, adding that it would take this incident into consideration when looking at the airlines’ future flights.

Meanwhile, Phnom Penh-based Tonlesap Air announced that it would suspend its operations between next Monday and June 3.

Both Tonlesap and Palau Airways are run by the same management.

Palau Airways said it had to cancel the service because the lease on the aircraft had expired and it has yet to confirm a lease on a new aircraft.

Travel agents are entitled to seek compensation from the airline based on the contract between the two parties, the company said.