The nation’s major airlines predicted that their operations would deteriorate until next quarter after the Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday increased travel advisories for 97 countries to level 3 “warning” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) said that it would not halt its international flights, even though almost all of its destinations were included in the list.
“We will cut flights and adjust our flight schedule, but we will not stop our operations completely, as we believe that there would still be essential travel, such as Taiwanese returning home,” EVA spokesman David Chen (陳耀銘) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
A government ban on entry by foreign nationals that begins today would negatively affect EVA’s business, but it would comply with the center’s instructions, he said.
Revenue is likely to drop next quarter, given that ticket sales from flights to the US and Canada accounted for 38 percent of total revenue last year, while those from services to Europe made up 12 percent, company data showed.
EVA, which has five cargo aircraft, would continue to concentrate on its cargo business to offset the declining passenger ticket sales, but it has not considered using passenger jets to transport cargo, Chen said.
“It would not be smart economically, as a passenger jet can only carry goods in its hold, so its capacity would be much smaller than that of a cargo airplane. The fuel efficiency is low,” he said.
China Airlines Ltd (華航) said that it would check all foreign travelers’ documents from today, while those without an Alien Resident Certificate or special entry permit would not be allowed to board.
The state-owned airline, with 18 Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, would also rely on its cargo business to weather the COVID-19 crisis, saying that it has asked some pilots who used to fly Boeing 747 passenger jets to fly the cargo variants.
China Airlines’ board of directors yesterday approved a plan not to distribute any cash dividend this year, after the carrier reported a net loss of NT$1.2 billion (US$39.6 million) for last year.
In a statement, the carrier attributed the results to a decreasing number of tourists from China and canceled flights amid protests in Hong Kong.
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