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December, 4, 2016

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TransAsia Airways' flying rights revoked by aviation regulator

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA, 民航局) gave TransAsia Airways (復興航空) until Tuesday, Nov. 29, to make their case before the agency revokes the stricken airline's domestic and international flying rights.

A TransAsia spokesperson said Monday the firm currently has no plans to resume operations.

The CAA had previously fined the troubled airline NT$3 million for its abrupt shutdown and announced that it would revoke all of its flying rights, but will give the airline a revocation hearing period for it to raise opinions as regulated.

If TransAsia fails to respond or to provide a sufficient reason to justify its violation of the Civil Aviation Act (民航法), the CAA said it would seek approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部) to immediately revoke and redistribute the airline's flying rights.

TransAsia declared on Nov. 22 that it would close due to heavy losses — thus laying off its nearly 1,800 employees — a day after it made the shock announcement that it would terminate all of the next day's flights.

The government said national carrier China Airlines (CAL, 華航) would take over TransAsia's domestic and overseas routes until Feb. 15 of next year, carrying passengers that had already booked with the stricken company before the routes are redistributed to other airlines.

Labor Negotiations Show Progress

Another negotiation session between TransAsia workers and employers was held on Monday afternoon, after which the company spokesman said they had reached an initial consensus.

The agreement was made with employee representatives that were not members the union, but the new conditions will apply to all employees, the firm stated.

TransAsia later said, in a statement, that it had agreed to pay out salaries earlier than planned — November salaries will be paid out on Nov. 30 rather than the previously scheduled Dec. 15, and salaries for December will be transferred to employees' bank accounts on Jan. 5 of next year.

The statement also said employees that have worked at the company for more than three years will receive higher redundancy fees, while those with more than 10 years will receive greater benefits than the former.

According to local media, the union's Deputy Executive Director Pang Min-yi (龐閔憶) said though the firm promised to offer improved redundancy fee packages to employees working more than three years, there were senior staff that have been working for over 20 years but could only receive NT$10,000.

"This is ruthless," said Pang.

Gov't to Draft 'TranAsia Clause'

According to local media, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC, 金管會) said Monday that it had ordered the Taiwan Stock Exchange to draft a special law in response to TransAsia's abrupt dissolution.

The FSC said one goal for the law revision is to raise penalties for publicly listed companies that deliberately withhold important information rather than hold press conferences as regulated.

While violating firms may be slapped with a fine of up to NT$5 million at present, the government is considering raising the maximum fine to more than NT$10 million.

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