Kinmen-based airline being planned

05/29/2020 07:41 PM
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Kinmen, May 29 (CNA) Investors said Friday they are hoping to raise NT$5 billion (US$166.67 million) to start an airline based in Taiwan-controlled Kinmen County and hope to set it up in October.

The news was confirmed on Friday by former Kinmen County Councilor Chen Tsang-chiang (陳滄江) and Taiwanese businessman Tsai Chuan-cheng (蔡傳成) while they were making a donation to the baseball team of a local vocational high school.

Chen and Tsai, both conveners of the preparatory committee for the formation of Kinmen Airlines, said that if everything goes well, they will hold the carrier's establishment ceremony in October.

Kinmen County is located less than 10 kilometers from China's coast, far closer than it is to Taiwan, and Tsai said setting up the airline would enable local residents to "fly across the Taiwan Strait and explore the whole world."

"Given that a large number of families from Kinmen live in Southeast Asian countries, it is critical that Kinmen has its own airline to serve its people through a more comprehensive air travel network," he said.

Despite the global air travel market being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the committee has proceeded with the plan as scheduled and expects to unveil the airline's logo in June and kick off a five-phase development project in October.

Should Kinmen Airlines be established as projected, it will be very helpful in connecting the county to the rest of the world and create work opportunities for younger residents who would otherwise seek work elsewhere, Tsai said.

The investors did not announce what kind of aircraft they anticipate using, but they said in March they would probably start with the same ATR aircraft currently used on routes between Taiwan and Kinmen.

At present, only Taipei-based UNI Air and Mandarin Airlines operate regular flights between Kinmen and Taiwan proper, making it difficult to travel between the two sides, especially during peak holiday seasons.

Kinmen residents also find it inconvenient to fly overseas, having to transfer first in Taipei or another city in Taiwan.

(By Flor Wang and Amy Huang)

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