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FAT to retire old aircraft in 6 years

2017/10/23 19:54:15

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Taiwan's Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) pledged Monday to retire all eight of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 airplanes with a current average age of 22 years by 2023.

The move is aimed to clear safety concerns from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) and to convince the CAA to lift its limit of total flight hours of 1,359 hours per month imposed on the airline, said FAT Chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維).

"No one is more eager than us to retire the older aircraft," Chang said, adding that the airline plans to develop a new fleet of aircraft comprising planes made by Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR and Airbus A320s or A321s.

FAT has already introduced two ATR72s this year, which are being examined by the CAA before they can be put into operation, Chang said. The airline will introduce two more ATRs next year and will start to retire the MD-80 planes in 2019, according to Chang.

FAT will introduce a total of nine ATR72 aircraft and 10 Airbus A320/321s to replace its current fleet, he said.

Chang said he hopes the CAA will remove its flight restrictions because the ruling imposed since March has prevented it from assigning planes effectively and sometimes causes delays.

In response, the CAA said the current restrictions target the MD-80 planes for safety reasons and will not be lifted unless the aircraft are replaced.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)