2-Mar-2012 11:58 AM

Taiwan CAA allocates Songshan-Gimpo rights, doesn't rule out amendments to bilateral agreement

Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) director general Yin Chen-pong, as reported by CNA, China Times and China Post, defended the CAA’s decision to allocate China Airlines three weekly services and EVA Air the remaining four weekly services on the proposed daily Taipei Songshan-Seoul Gimpo service, stating the route is not a new route but part of the existing Taipei-Seoul route as Taipei Songshan Airport and Taipei Taoyuan Airport are both regarded as “Taipei destinations”. Mr Yin stated China Airlines and EVA were granted priority as both carriers are designated carriers for the Taipei Taoyuan-Seoul Incheon sector. Mr Yin, however, stated the Government will hold talks with its South Korean counterparts this year to increase the number of services on the sector, allowing for a third carrier from each side to enter the market. South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs announced in Feb-2012 its selection of Eastar Jet and t’way Air to operate the Taipei Songshan-Seoul Gimpo service. In Nov-2011, Taiwan and South Korea agreed to open direct air services between Taipei Songshan and Seoul Gimpo with daily services not exceeding 200 seats, with the service scheduled to commence in late Mar-2012. Mr Yin now expects the service to commence in Apr-2012 at the earliest.

TransAsia Airways chairman Vincent Lin, who had earlier called for fairer distribution of flight rights by the Government, protested (01-Mar-2012) the CAA’s decision, calling the decision “unfair and unjust”. Mr Lin stated the matter is not simply about air rights but the very survival of airlines and has called for “a fair opportunity to compete, accusing the CAA of favouring larger operators". Mr Lin also stated the carrier submitted a proposal to the CAA to operate the sector but did not receive a reply from the CAA or its governing body, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Mr Lin also does not rule out appealing against the CAA’s decision through all possible means. [more - original PR - TransAsia - Chinese]

Meanwhile, Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) also expressed (01-Mar-2012) its disappointment at the CAA’s decision. [more - original PR - FAT - Chinese]

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