FAT to end service Friday due to financial problems

FAT has been operating on 62 domestic and international routes to 47 cities in Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Far Eastern Air Transport Corp. (FAT), a medium-sized international carrier in Taiwan, announced Thursday that it will end its flight operations with effect from Friday, due to financial difficulties.

The announcement was made on FAT’s website, which was temporarily down earlier in the day, amid rumors that the airline was about to fold.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration is scheduled to hold a joint press conference with FAT later Thursday to give more details about the airline’s closure.

FAT has been operating on 62 domestic and international routes to 47 cities in Southeast Asia, South Korea and Japan.

Established in 1957, the Taipei-based FAT declared bankruptcy in May 2008 but resumed operations three years later and completed bankruptcy restructuring in October 2015.

In its announcement Thursday, the company did not give any details of the financial problems it is now facing, but according to a purported FAT internal memo circulating online, most of its 1,000 workers will be laid off and only a few will be retained to deal with the closure of the airline.

The Ministry of Labor (MOL), meanwhile, said it had not received any notice from FAT about an imminent major layoff, as required by law.

According to the Taipei City Department of Labor, if the airline proceeds with a major layoff without giving the required 60-day notice, the matter will be reported to the labor ministry, which in turn might bring legal action against FAT Chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) and bar him from leaving the country.