The nation’s airlines would have sustained greater financial losses if it were not for the government relief package and booming air cargo service market, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) statistics showed that all of the airlines reported financial losses during the first half of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
China Airlines (CAL) lost NT$1.313 billion (US$44.69 million) between January and June, while EVA Airways’ (EVA) losses for that period topped NT$1.834 billion.
Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times
CAL’s subsidiary Mandarin Airlines and EVA’s Uni Air sustained NT$340 million and NT$18.40 million in losses respectively.
Starlux Airlines, which began operations in January, also reported a financial loss of NT$1.312 billion.
Asked to comment on the airlines’ financial predicament and if the government plans to provide them with more funds, Lin said that transportation and tourism service providers have borne the brunt of the repercussions brought by the pandemic.
“We quickly assessed the situation and helped airlines secure a loan of NT$50 billion to help them weather this difficult time,” he said.
“The financial losses sustained by Taiwanese flight carriers have been relatively smaller compared with those of international carriers in other countries,” he added.
Revenues from an increase in their air cargo services helped compensate local airlines for their losses, he said.
When the pandemic began to spread from China to other countries, Lin said that airline executives had told him that they expected the financial losses this year could top NT$10 billion.
“The losses were much smaller than they had expected. This showed that the relief package did help the airlines, and they made timely and proper adjustments to reduce losses, such as focusing on air cargo businesses,” he said.
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