The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said it had decided to put on hold a meeting to discuss amendments to an aviation pact between Taiwan and the Philippines following the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by personnel aboard a Philippine Coast Guard vessel on Thursday last week.
Based on the pact, each side can assign two airlines to operate regular flights between Taipei and Manila. Taiwan has designated China Airlines and EVA Airways as the exclusive operators of the flights from Taipei, while the Philippines has appointed Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air to operate the flights from Manila.
An amendment to the pact was proposed when a third carrier in the Philippines sought to join the Taipei-Manila route. Aviation officials from both sides met in Taipei last year. Although they did not reach a consensus, they agreed to meet again.
According to the CAA, the Philippines bought up the matter again at the beginning of the year, but both sides had not set a date for a second meeting.
Following the fatal shooting last week, the CAA decided to set aside the proposal for a new aviation pact.
However, suspending flight services between the two countries may be a more difficult decision to make.
Statistics from the CAA showed that Taiwanese carriers offer more flights than their Philippine counterparts. China Airlines offers a total of 18 passenger flights per week between Taipei and Manila, and between Greater Kaohsiung and Manila. It also provides two cargo flights per week as well as charter flight services.
EVA offers seven flights per week between Taipei and Manila.
Taiwan’s Mandarin Airlines also has two flights per week between Taipei and Boracay, Philippines.
Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific together offer 21 passenger flights per week to Taipei. Spirit of Manila Airlines also operates four passenger flights per week between Taipei and Boracay.
Other airlines in the Philippines can also share the use of 3,100 seats available for charter flights.
The CAA said it is gathering data on flight services between the two countries for review and decisionmaking by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Executive Yuan.
Other repercussions caused by the shooting began to emerge yesterday.
Tsen’s Mochi (曾記麻糬), a well-known food shop in Hualien City, canceled a trip to Boracay for its employees to protest the incident.
Chairman Dong Chuen-ling said the company would not consider a trip to the Philippines until Manila makes a formal apology and responds to the Taiwanese government’s demands.
Dong added that the company would donate 10 percent of its revenue from the sale of Mid-Autumn Festival moon cakes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Overseas Emergency Rescue Fund.