Yen plunge to benefit the airline & tourism sectors: TransAsia Airways


TAIPEI–The plunging Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has made traveling to Japan more affordable, which is expected to give a boost to Taiwan’s airline and tourism businesses, TransAsia Airways said Saturday.

Fred Wu, president of the mid-sized Taiwan-based international carrier, said that the strong depreciation of the yen against the greenback has raised many local people’s interest in traveling to Japan by taking advantage of cheaper travel costs and relatively lower consumer prices in the country.

To seize the growing business opportunities, Wu said that TransAsia has launched a massive promotion campaign to offer a wide range of products, including preferential ticket fares and discount tour packages for independent tourists.

The yen has fallen sharply to a seven-year low against the U.S. dollar after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced last week that it will inject more funds into the market to strengthen the Japanese economy.

On Wednesday, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that the bank does not rule out the possibility of further loosening its monetary policy, which again dampened sentiment toward the Japanese currency, causing the yen to plunge to 115 yen against the greenback at one point.

Moreover, Nomura Securities has even predicted that the yen could test 125 yen against the U.S. dollar by the end of next year on the back of further fund injections by the BOJ.

This week, the yen depreciated 3.51 percent against the U.S. dollar.

Taiwanese media meanwhile reported that people in Taiwan have rushed to exchange their New Taiwan dollar for the yen and most of them wanted to keep higher yen positions in a bid to make trips to Japan.

The reports said that Taiwanese bought more than 37.5 billion yen (US$326 million) in the local banking system in one week.

Wu from TransAsia said the airline remained upbeat about the market outlook for the fourth quarter and even for next year.

In particular, Wu said, the falling yen is expected to give an additional boost to the travel market in Japan, and TransAsia is planning to expand its fleet, including buying two A321s and two ATR72-600 planes, to meet rising demand for Japan-bound flights.

In terms of its promotion campaign, Wu said, TransAsia has unveiled an online travel trade exhibition to offer discounts to early bird buyers for tickets to Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido.

To attract more customers, TransAsia has provided independent tourists with various packages with air tickets and hotel lodging, including a five-day package to Tokyo which carries a price tag of only NT$18,000 per tourist for a party of two.