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China Airlines looks ahead to better revenue

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- China Airlines (華航) and its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines (華信航) held a belated banquet yesterday to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year, with both companies expecting modest improvements in revenues this year amid persisting high fuel prices.

According to Sun Hong-shiang (孫洪祥), chairman of China Airlines, revenues are expected to improve from last year's lull in growth amid the emergence of a global economic recovery, helped by the Tourism Bureau's forecast of 9 million international visitors to Taiwan, and an estimated 5 to 10 percent growth in passenger volume in the first months of this year. In addition, earnings prospects will be augmented by China Airlines' collaborative entry to the low-cost carrier market with Singapore's Tigerair, which is expected to commence operations in the fourth quarter of this year, said Sun, marking the beginning of new options for travelers.

Most notably, China Airlines plans to increase the number of destinations to China from 28 to 32, following the addition of Xuzhou, Hefei, Changchun and Yantai. In addition, the company plans to increase the number of flights to Japan from 2012's 80 per week to 172 per week this year. Sun, however, stated that pending national regulations, China Airlines hopes to increase flights to major hub airports in China and South Korea.

Over the course of this year, China Airlines plans to add seven jetliners to its fleet, and has commissioned three 777s and four A330s. As each of China Airline's flights also represent the spirit of Taiwan to foreign passengers, the company has enlisted the services of famed architect Chen Rui-hsien in devising a welcoming experience through his trademark minimalist approach in cabin and in-flight utensil design that features the rich cultural history in the arts and literature of the Song Dynasty.

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