FAT denies looking to sell business
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) issued a public statement yesterday denying a report claiming they were selling the airline for US$200 million (NT$5.8 billion).
January 24, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
FAT said in the statement that if the media outlet does not apologize for or clarify the untruthful report within three days, FAT will bring an indictment against the publication.
The report claimed that FAT's CEO Chang Kang-wei (張綱維), who took over the airline in 2009, was planning to sell FAT for NT$5.8 billion due to the company's huge expenses.
The report said that so far no buyers have shown interest in taking over FAT as the purchase price is too high.
FAT spends NT$50 million a month on aircraft maintenance and employee salaries, the report said, which will quickly deplete the NT$1.2 billion that Chang invested after taking over the airline.
According to FAT's financial report, revenue in the previous six months of 2012 was NT$1.2 billion. However, total profit was less than NT$80 million — half of the equivalent 2011 figure.
In the public statement, FAT said that when the media outlet called for confirmation before publishing the report, the airline rejected any notion that they would be selling. In 2008, FAT suffered financial difficulties that resulted in a cessation of operations. After filing for bankruptcy and reorganizing the business, the airline returned to operation in 2011.
In late December of 2012, FAT sued another local media outlet for what it considered an untruthful report, which claimed the airline had covered up an incident where an aircraft stalled three times in the air during operation.
According to the latest local report, FAT now flies to 17 destinations. The light operator currently runs seven McDonnell Douglas MD-82s and MD-83s, which have been in service for an average of 18 years. FAT also has two Boeing 757s which are currently under maintenance.