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September 23, 2017

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Ex-CAA chief "willing to” take over TransAsia

The former director general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA,民航局), Chang Kuo-cheng (張國政), on Tuesday said that he was "willing to take over" recently dissolved TransAsia Airways (復興航空), urging the government to delay a revocation of the airline's flying rights set for today.

"Entrusted by people from the IT industry, my team is willing to take over TransAsia Airways, and hopefully our intervention can help resolve some of the government's problems, the airline's difficulties and its employees' job crisis," Chang said on Tuesday in a press conference in Taipei.

"Furthermore, we hope that the CAA can temporarily suspend and delay its plan to retract the airline's international and domestic aviation rights."

Should TransAsia Airways' flying rights be revoked now, Chang said, his team would not be interested in taking over the company.

TransAsia Airways spokesman Liu Chung-chi (劉忠繼) responded by saying that the airline was not aware of Chang's intentions.

Chang refused to disclose the name of the buyer behind his team, saying, "If I tell you now, it's (the deal) going to fall apart."

Speculation has risen that Terry Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海), is behind the takeover bid. The company stated that it would not respond to rumors.

Chang said that his team would seek to speak with TransAsia Airways' Chairman Vincent Lin (林明昇) shortly after the morning press conference.

'Premature act'

Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said that Chang's announcement of the possible takeover before discussing it with TransAsia Airways was "premature and careless."

He said that the retraction of the airline's aviation rights would proceed as planned, "otherwise loads of other problems will entail, including passengers' and employees' rights."

"He (Chang) must speak with the airline management first (regarding the takeover), and it should be the airline that makes the proposal to the CAA," Wang said.

Last week, the Cabinet announced temporary response measures to TransAsia's unexpected announcement to cease operations, with China Airlines set to cover parts of TransAsia's original routes until Feb. 15 next year.

The CAA issued an ultimatum on Monday, saying the airline had until Tuesday evening to come up with plans to resume operations, before the agency revoked its flying rights.

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