China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) is to offer one direct weekly round-trip flight between Taipei and London next month, the airline announced yesterday.
CAL said in a statement that the flights would leave from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Friday and depart for Taipei from Heathrow Airport in London on Saturday during the July 3 to July 31 period.
The flights are aimed at helping travelers flying between the two cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven countries across the world to adopt border controls and travel restrictions, resulting in flight cancelations by many airlines.
CAL, which operated four weekly Taipei-London flights via Gatwick Airport before the outbreak, said its three other flights to London have been converted to cargo flights following a large drop in passenger numbers.
From Friday to Oct. 24, the Taipei-London flights will temporarily use Heathrow rather than Gatwick, which is to be closed for refurbishment from July 1 to Oct. 24, CAL said.
As some countries have eased travel restrictions with the pandemic showing signs of ebbing, CAL said it would also add flights to other destinations next month, including Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
In related news, EasyJet PLC aircraft yesterday took to the skies for the first time since March 30 as the British carrier resumed a small number of mainly domestic flights after weeks of lockdown.
Passengers, who under EasyJet’s new rules must wear masks, boarded the airline’s first flight from London’s Gatwick airport to Glasgow for a 6am departure.
EasyJet CEO Lundgren said the airline was “super excited” to restart flights.
He said measures to protect passengers had been agreed with regulators.
“It’s absolutely safe to fly,” he added.
The airline is starting with a minimal service, flying mainly routes within Britain to cities, including Edinburgh and Belfast. It is also resuming some domestic and international routes from France, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal.
While borders across Europe are being opened, a hoped-for travel recovery in EasyJet’s home market has been put at risk by a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals.
EasyJet, alongside rivals British Airways and Ryanair, on Friday started legal action against the quarantine policy to try to have it overturned.
Lundgren said that Britain introduced quarantine as the rest of Europe was removing restrictions.
“We don’t see that it makes any sense from a public health point of view,” he said, adding that it was having a “very dampening effect” on new bookings into the UK.
The airline is planning to ramp up services as the summer progresses and expects to be flying about three-quarters of routes by August, but at a much lower frequency than last year.
Capacity would be at about 30 percent of usual in the busy July-to-September season, easyJet said.
Bigger rival Ryanair plans to be flying 40 percent of capacity by next month.
EasyJet last month said it was planning to cut 4,500 jobs, or 30 percent of its workforce.
Lundgren said there was scope to increase both the number of destinations and flight frequencies as the summer progressed, but whether the quarantine remained in place would be a factor.
“Aviation is facing its worse crisis ever,” he said, adding that the airline estimated demand would not return to last year’s levels until 2023.
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to