Taiwanese carriers China Airlines, EVA Air to clip flights

Monday, June 16, 2008, 12:30 by Aviation Correspondent

China Airlines and EVA Airways Corporation, the biggest airlines of Taiwan, will reduce their flights by 10% in their attempt to deal with prohibitive prices of aviation fuel. China Airlines, the flag carrier of Taiwan, is terminating 100 passenger flights a month, mainly to the United States and Asia, according to a statement from the company.

At present, China Airlines, based at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and with headquarters in Taipei, capital of Taiwan, flies to destinations in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

China Airlines will also cut 50 all-cargo flights a month as well as make cuts in areas including marketing, a spokesman of the company said. The carrier at present has no plans to reduce salaries or to trim flights to Europe, where earnings are better than in Asia.

EVA Air, based at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei, will cancel about 5% of its passenger services from September 1, 2008, to December 1, 2008.

EVA Air will cut services to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Ho Chi Minh City, Ko said. The airline is yet to decide whether the flights will resume after December 1, 2008.

An affiliate of shipping conglomerate Evergreen Group, EVA Air, founded in 1989, is the largest privately owned airline in Taiwan. The carrier operates passenger and cargo services to international destinations in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America.

Airlines based in Taiwan have raised surcharges on international routes three times so far in 2008.

Far Eastern Air Transport Corporation, based in Taipei, had stopped flying in May 2008 because of shortage of funds.

At least 7 major in the Asia-Pacific region have announced plans to cut flights in the last two weeks in the face of rising fuel prices.

Qantas, the national airline of Australia, and Air New Zealand, the national flag carrier of New Zealand, have already announced that they would trim international services. China Southern, the biggest airline in China, is planning similar cuts in flights.

A survey has shown that higher prices of ticket have led to a slump in demand for travel, with Taiwanese residents making 0.8% fewer flights overseas in the first quarter of 2008 compared to a year earlier.

While the losses suffered by China Airlines expanded to NT$2.97 billion ($98 million) in the first quarter on 2008 from NT$806 million a year earlier, the losses incurred by EVA Air was NT$2.29 billion, compared with NT$331 million a year earlier, according to media reports.