Foreign carriers owe airport NT$3m in outstanding fees

GROUNDED::The airport company said it is not cost-effective to take legal action against the airlines, as it could end up costing more than what is owed

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Jun 07, 2013 - Page 3

Tonlesap Airlines and Palau Airways have yet to pay their aircraft landing fees to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after both airlines suspended services to Taipei in April, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) confirmed yesterday.

The company said the two airlines’ local offices were run by the same management team and they have not paid on time since December last year. Although the company has sent out notices and fined the airlines for late payment, it has had no response from either of them.

According to TIAC, Tonlesap owes the airport about NT$1.66 million (US$55,660) in landing fees. Palau Airways owes about NT$1.4 million.

The airport organization said it may be difficult to collect payments from Tonlesap and Palau Airways as both are foreign carriers, adding that their local management had quit because of non-payment of salaries.

The company said it does not consider it cost-effective to instigate legal action against the two airlines for the unpaid fees, as it may end up spending more than the amount owed pursuing the lawsuits.

Should the airlines decide to resume flights to and from Taiwan, the airlines must first pay the landing fees they owe, the company said.

Because of their previous defaults, the airport company said that the two airlines will also be asked to deposit two months of landing fees before they could use the airport again.

Although the carriers could resume flights by simply changing the names of the airlines, TIAC said that it would find out who the management of the “new” airline companies were and ask them to pay the deposits.

Phnom Penh-based Tonlesap in 2011 launched flights between Taipei and Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia’s main tourist attractions. Palau Airways began flights to Taipei last year

The two airlines made unexpected announcements in April that they were suspending flights because leases of aircraft had expired, affecting hundreds of travelers.