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UNI Air is a Taiwanese regional airline based at Kaohsiung International Airport, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiwanese major EVA Air. The airline’s network comprises domestic and international service to destinations in China, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia and Japan. Its fleet comprises mainly MD-90 aircraft.
Location of Uni Airways main hub (Taipei Songshan Airport)
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A proposed regional alliance amongst SkyTeam's Greater China members – Taiwan's China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines – may appear to be a niche strategic move in the small but highly profitable and expanding Taiwan-mainland China market.
Yet the alliance is also indicative of the growing trend for North Asian airlines to combine their strengths against imposing competitors, namely Air China and Cathay Pacific.
The alliance would account for about half of the capacity between China and Taiwan, a valuable market which is continuously expanding under tight control and route delegation. Its share on certain key business routes, like Taipei-Shanghai, would be even higher. Further airline strength and capacity will pressure Hong Kong-based carriers, which once had a healthy business of carrying passengers between China and Taiwan via their hub.
Taiwan’s EVA Air formally signed on 29-Mar-2012 with Star Alliance to join the grouping after Star’s Chief Executive Board unanimously accepted the carrier's membership application. Wholly owned regional subsidiary UNI Air, however, will not be joining Star and EVA President KW Chang has instead revealed is was a possibility that UNI may be converted to a low-cost carrier.
As Asia’s network airlines quickly establish their own LCC subsidiaries, the pressure mounts on others to follow suit and EVA is apparently no exception. In a clear sign that the flurry of LCC subsidiary announcements by other airline groups in Asia was influencing EVA management thinking, Mr Chang Kuo-wei said “it is one thing we are thinking of, but it is only a possibility this stage”. While it ponders a possible new short-haul LCC strategy, EVA hopes to leverage its Star Alliance membership to expand on long-haul routes.
This weekend’s re-election of a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) President in the Republic of China (Taiwan) is good news for airlines operating between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.
Since non-stop cross-straits services began in 2009, airlines from both sides have profited from a relaxation in access, with steep gains in direct city pair operations.
There had been concerns that a loss by President Ma Ying-jeou would mean his liberal attitude to relations with the mainland would be reversed under a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government. It was President Ma’s influence that helped remove restrictions on direct flights.
The KMT’s win should more or less mean business as usual – and a continuation of the expansion of cross-straits air travel.
Taiwan's airlines are gearing up for a boom in visitors from Mainland China. Taiwan’s Transportation and Communications Minister Mao Chikuo has urged Taiwanese carriers to purchase more aircraft before the number of Mainland tourists permitted to visit the island increases from 5 million presently to 10 million p/a over the next three to four years. While the demand will no doubt be captured predominantly by the nation's two major carriers, EVA Air and China Airlines, some of the nation's smaller carriers are also targeting rapid expansion in the months and years ahead on cross-Strait and near-international routes.
Taiwan and Mainland China launched regular (scheduled) cross-Strait services on 31-Aug-2009, ending a six-decade absence. It is a major step forward for relations across the Taiwan Strait and comes at a crucial time for airlines on both sides that are feeling the effects of dramatically weakened demand on international routes.
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