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Taiwan domestic airlines load factor down since launch of bullet


TAIPEI (XFN-ASIA) - The domestic airlines' passenger load factor

has dropped significantly, with local air travel being the most affected transport

segment since the commercial launch early this year of Taiwan High Speed Rail

services, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said.

For the route between northern Taipei and central Taichung, the airlines' passenger load factor fell to 24.8 pct in February from an average 37.4 pct for full year 2006, according to a report from the CEPD.

In the same period, the Taipei-Chiayi route saw its loading factor down to 46 pct from 63.4 pct, the Taipei-Tainan route down to 56.3 pct from 66.5 pct and Taipei-Kaohsiung down to 61.8 pct from 65.7 pct, it said.

Conventional railways served a total of 13.58 mln passengers in February 2007, down from 14.58 mln passengers in December 2006.

Since the commencement of its commercial operations on Jan 5 this year, the the high-speed railway has carried a total of 2.09 mln passengers as of March 8, or an average of 33,161 passengers a day, the CEPD said.

According to an assessment made by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in 2004, about 1.1 mln people made trips of longer than 50 kilometers a trip in the island's western corridor per day.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp operates the 345-km Shinkansen-style bullet train to serve the island's western transport corridor, where 94 pct of the 23 mln population live.

The bullet train, which entailed investments of around 15 bln usd, can run at 300 km per hour and can cover the capital Taipei city in the north to Kaohsiung in the south in less than 90 minutes in a non-stop run.

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