TRANSASIA Airways is eyeing Bangkok and other Asian destinations after Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) relaxed its policy of limiting two domestic airlines to each city-pair.
“This change in policy began this year, and is in effect where the capacity is not restricted by bilateral agreements,” a source at CAA told TTG Asia e-Daily.
The first scheduled regional route to be served by three Taiwanese carriers is Taipei-Singapore. Long-established rivals on the route, China Airlines and Eva Air, made way for TransAsia on June 30 (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 5). Crowded on the route as well are Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways, and Jetstar Asia Airways.
William Hsu, executive assistant to the chairman, TransAsia Airways, said the Taoyuan-Singapore route would serve as a proving ground for the airlines’ regional aspirations.
Bangkok has been cited as TransAsia’s next move. Hsu said, however, that bilateral agreements had been cleared for other destinations as well.
“There is no reason that we need to choose Bangkok as our next scheduled destination. Instead we are working with a ‘hub and spoke’ concept,” he said.
“With Taiwan as our base, we can easily carry passengers north and south, from Japan and South Korea to China or Singapore and vice versa. Then, looking east to west, there are also Okinawa and Palau.”
Japan is another short-term possibility. Hsu expects the Taiwan-Japan bilateral flight agreement to be revised as early as November, making scheduled flights possible by the first quarter of next year.
By Glenn Smith