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FAT required to submit future flight schedules: CAA

2019/05/19 22:37:10

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Far Eastern Air Transport Corp. (FAT), a medium-sized international carrier in Taiwan, will have to submit its flight schedules for June and July to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) in advance, in the wake of the carrier's surprise cancellations May 17 that affected nearly 1,000 passengers, the administration said Sunday.

"FAT must submit their plan to us on Monday on condition of the maximum number of flight hours of 1,350 hours," said Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) after an emergency meeting with FAT executives.

Chi's comments came after the airline canceled its flights May 17 to Palawan and Boracay in the Philippines and Danang in Vietnam for the rest of May, effective the following day.

While FAT has complained that the cancellations were necessary after it exceeded its maximum number of flight hours of 1,350 hours per month set by the CAA, the administration said it had warned the carrier back in April that its flight hours scheduled for May could break the threshold.

The CAA said it has applied flight hours control to FAT since March 2017 due to safety concerns, as the airline has an old fleet comprising eight McDonnell Douglas (MD) aircraft that have been suffering more malfunctions in recent years.

Chi said all FAT's 164 passengers grounded in Danang Saturday due to the cancelation returned to Taiwan Sunday, adding that the carrier will bring home another 164 passengers stranded in Palawan due to the flight cancelation by May 21.

According to the CAA, 29 more FAT flights will be affected between May 21-31.

Meanwhile, FAT General Manager Lee Tzu-huang (李梓煌) admitted that the way FAT handles its flight cancellations is bad and needs to be improved.

He pledged Sunday that the airline will notify the CAA and travel agencies as soon as possible if similar situations occur again, so that they can together come up with solutions to minimize the impact on passengers.

(By Lee Hsin-yin)
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