StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) is to cancel all flights from today until the end of next month, as the COVID-19 pandemic curbs overseas travel, it said.
The start-up carrier said it would halt operations to Da Nang, Vietnam, the only route it was still flying earlier this week after suspending service to Penang, Malaysia, and Macau earlier this month and last month respectively.
The airline, which began operations on Jan. 23, must discontinue all flights as the government issued level 3 “warning” travel advisories to the three countries it services, company communications officer Liu Li-wen (劉俐?) said by telephone.
Its ticket sales and ridership had already declined as interest in international travel retreated amid the pandemic, she said.
Although the nation’s two major airlines, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) and China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), said they would instead concentrate on their cargo operations, StarLux has not yet launched its cargo business, Liu said.
Despite cutting all flights, StarLux would not reduce employee pay nor ask them to take unpaid leave, she said.
“The company would enhance employee training and education during this period, to optimize our service. The staff is ready for that, as they know they would be too busy for extra training once flights resume,” Liu said.
StarLux, with three Airbus SE A321neo aircraft, still plans to acquire another two A321neos in the second half of this year, she said.
Meanwhile, Tigerair Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航), a subsidiary of CAL, is to cancel 710 round-trip flights, 668 to Japan and 42 to Thailand, from Wednesday to the end of next month, as Taiwan has also issued level 3 advisories for those countries, it said in a Taipei Stock Exchange filing.
The flights account for 7.5 percent of its total flights for the whole of this year, it said.
In related news, EVA’s board of directors on Thursday approved a proposal for a cash dividend of NT$0.25 per common share, down from NT$0.5 a year earlier, after the company reported a 33 percent drop year-on-year in its net profit to NT$4.85 billion (US$160.1 million), it said in a statement.
It attributed the dip in profit to the flight attendant strike in June last year, a decline in Chinese tourists and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, it said.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
The output of the global smartphone industry this year is to contract by 7.8 percent on an annual basis as the COVID-19 pandemic ushers in a global recession, Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said in a report on Monday. The global production of smartphones is expected to fall to 1.29 billion units, as the pandemic dampens demand for consumer electronics, leading to a decline in shipments across Europe and North America, TrendForce said. With consumers delaying smartphone purchases and thereby lengthening the device replacement cycle, overall prices would suffer a setback that is expected to negatively affect the profitability of smartphone
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the