Taiwanese carriers put off ordering more aircraft

Singapore
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Taiwanese carriers appear to be in no hurry to order more aircraft despite the fact the airlines are benefiting from the opening of non-stop flights to mainland China.

China Airlines president Sun HH, says: "We have a need for additional capacity but not in the immediate future."

He says eventually CAL may add a few Airbus A330s and Boeing 737s in addition to the Airbus A350s it has on order but it is still early days.

He adds, that CAL's sister carrier Mandarin Airlines is selling its two Fokker 100s so "maybe we need to have additional aircraft to meet the needs of Mandarin" although these will be 737s.

Meanwhile, EVA's sister carrier Uni Air continues to operate 11-13 year-old Boeing MD-90s.

EVA Air president Jeng Kung-yeun says: "We are thinking about some suitable aircraft [for Uni Air] ...but we are still in the study and evaluation stage."

Taiwan's other carrier is TransAsia Airways. It has no immediate plans to increase its fleet but it is looking at ordering a few Airbus A320-family aircraft to replace its older A320s, says TransAsia chairman Charles Chen.

He says even though Taiwanese carriers have traffic rights to China, the number of flights will only keep a small number of aircraft busy.

Chen estimates TranAsia's allocation of 24 weekly flights can be fulfilled using two aircraft.

But there is an expectation China and Taiwan in future will further increase the number of scheduled flights.

Liberalisation of air services across the Taiwan Straits "is being done phase-by-phase so we are expecting that maybe by early next year" there will be even more flights, says Sun at CAL.

Taiwanese carriers currently operate regular charter services to mainland China but starting next month they will launch scheduled passenger flights under an agreement signed in June.