CAL mulls new flight service between Kaohsiung and Tokyo


TAIPEI–China Airlines (CAL) is considering increasing passenger and cargo flights between Kaohsiung and Tokyo after Japan’s government announced it was lifting restrictions on flights from Taiwan, an airline executive said Tuesday. CAL Chairman Sun Huang-hsiang said the airline was not thinking about adding capacity between Taipei and Tokyo because it already had enough scheduled flights to meet demand, but was studying whether service between Kaohsiung and the Japanese capital could be expanded. CAL, the largest air carrier in Taiwan, currently operates two flights a week between the southern Taiwan city and Tokyo.

Sun said the load factor on CAL flights between Taiwan and Japan currently ranged from 70 to 75 percent and was growing at a stable rate.

Flights out of Taipei Songshan International Airport are more fully booked than those leaving Taoyuan International Airport, which are more vulnerable to high and low tourism seasons, Sun said. Although the open-sky policy between Taiwan and Japan has also drawn interest from budget carriers, Sun said he was confident CAL would remain competitive because its fares are only 10-15 percent more expensive than those offered by the low-cost airlines. The Civil Aeronautics Administration was notified by Japan on Monday that it will start to ease limits on Tokyo-bound flights, including those from Taiwan, beginning March 31, opening the door for more carriers to fly between Taiwan and Japan.