Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Two Taiwanese airlines have announced that they are temporarily using larger aircraft to fly regular flights between Taipei and Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam to meet increasing demand for flights out of the country due to anti-China violence there.
Taipei-based China Airlines (CAL) said it had mobilized a bigger airplane to fly a Taipei-Ho Chi Minh round-trip flight Wednesday. The same change will also be made for two flights between the two destinations the following day, the company said.
The plane to be used for the CI781/782 flight, scheduled to depart from Taipei at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, will be changed from a B737-800 to a B747-400, while the one used for flight CI783/784, set to depart from Taipei at 2:20 p.m., will be changed to a B747-400, instead of the original Airbus A330, CAL said.
The changes for Thursday will increase the number of seats by a total of 313 to meet rising demand from Taiwanese people seeking to flee Vietnam following increasingly violent anti-Chinese protests Taiwanese there, the carrier said.
The company is closely monitoring the situation in Vietnam, and will continue the deployment of larger planes or increase the number of flights if needed later in the week, it added.
Meanwhile Wednesday, EVA Airways, Taiwan's other major international carrier, said it has decided to use Boeing 777 planes on its two round-trip flights between Taipei and Ho Chi Minh City the following day.
The Vietnamese protesters have wrecked and looted Chinese-invested factories and factories carrying Chinese-language signboards or hiring Chinese nationals there.
Many Taiwanese factories have become targets of attacks during the riots because some of the protesters cannot tell Taiwanese businesses from Chinese ones.
Upon their arrival at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday, Taiwanese travelers from Vietnam appeared to remain in a state of fear when they showed the waiting media photos showing rioters using tools to damage factory doors.
Anti-China sentiment has been mounting in Vietnam as tensions rose in the resource-rich South China Sea last week when China positioned a giant oil rig in an area also claimed by Vietnam. Each country accused the other of ramming their ships near the disputed Paracel Islands.
(By Angela Tsai, Bien Chin-feng and Elizabeth Hsu) ENDITEM/J
Related stories:●May 14: 10 Taiwanese factories in Vietnam set afire during protests●May 14: Foreign Ministry willing to help Taiwanese leave Vietnam
(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)