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TransAsia Airways to suspend operations Tuesday amid financial woes

2016/11/21 21:22:12

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) TransAsia Airways will suspend operations for one day on Tuesday amid reports of financial difficulties and will convene a special board meeting the same day, the carrier said in a statement.

It apologized to passengers affected by the one-day suspension and said passengers will be able to get full refunds within 45 days.

TransAsia Airways reported that 5,113 passengers will be affected by the one-day suspension, including 1,313 on domestic routes, 1,827 on five international routes excluding China, and 1,973 on eight cross-strait routes, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

The CAA said that except for the Kinmen-Magong route, travel on all other domestic routes can be replaced by other air carriers.

TransAsia did not offer any reason for the one-day suspension or hint at if the situation could continue for longer, but the airline has struggled financially, losing NT$2.2 billion (US$69 million) in the first nine months of 2016.

It also lost half of its paid-in capital over the past two years.

Rumors have surfaced that the airline may be up for sale and among the names that have emerged as a potential buyer is one of Taiwan's biggest financial services groups, Fubon Financial Holdings (富邦金控).

TransAsia's business was dealt major blows by two fatal accidents on domestic flights in the past two years.

A flight from Kaohisung crashed in Penghu on July 23, 2014, leaving 48 of the 58 people on board dead, and another flight heading to Kinmen crashed into a river minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport in February 2015, killing 43 of the 58 people on board.

Founded in 1951, the airline was Taiwan's first private-owned domestic air carrier. It was taken over by the Goldsun Group (國產實業集團) in 1983 and was listed on Taiwan's stock market on Nov. 1, 2011.

TransAsia opened budget carrier subsidiary V Air in December 2014, but it struggled to stay afloat, and its operations came to an end on October 1 due to financial losses.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Wei Shu, Wang Chao-yu and Lilian Wu)
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