sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2016

Troubled TransAsia Airways forced to close

Taiwanese carrier shuts down after series of fatal crashes
Mark Elliott-Travel News

Defunct Airline
TransAsia Airways
, the Taiwanese carrier that suffered two fatal crashes in the space of eight months, has announced its closure.

The airline, which operated domestic and international flights to destinations including China, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, had been seeking ways of continuing its operations, including a possible sale and restructuring.

These efforts failed however, and TransAsia’s chief executive, Liu Tung-ming, told a press conference in Taipei this week that the company would be closed.

“Despite our best efforts to devise a new business model, the company could not produce an effective turnaround plan to repair its deteriorating finances,” Liu was quoted saying by the Taipei Times.

TransAsia made unwanted headlines in 2014 and 2015 when it suffered two fatal accidents. On 23 July 2014, flight GE222 crashed near Magong Airport on Taiwan’s Penghu Island, killing 48 people. Then on 4 February 2015, Flight GE235 crashed shortly after take-off from Songshan Airport in Taipei, killing 43 people. The latter incident made global headlines when the stricken ATR aircraft was filmed spiralling over a road bridge in Taipei, narrowly missing several cars, before plunging into the Keelung River.

It is unclear however, how much these incidents contributed to the airline’s collapse. TransAsia’s chairman Vincent Lin blamed the declining number of Chinese visitors and a strengthening of the US dollar for the company’s steep losses. TransAsia’s average load factor however, has also fallen to about 60%, which could reflect a drop in passenger confidence.

TransAsia became Taiwan’s first private commercial airline when it launched in 1951. It ceased operating in 1958 however, only resuming services in 1988. In recent years the airline had been planning a significant expansion, placing orders for brand new Airbus A321 and A330 aircraft. It also launched a low-cost subsidiary, V Air, but this was forced to suspend its operations on 1 October 2016.

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