China Airlines eyes new routes to London, Paris

Taipei--China Airlines (CAL) Chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (???) said on Wednesday the carrier plans to launch new routes to London and Paris, adding that he is optimistic the airline will perform better in the market place this year.

"We could launch a new route to London in the fourth quarter of the year, but it depends on which airport we are flying to," Ho said, explaining that the most desirable aviation hub, Heathrow Airport, is already overcrowded.

As to Paris, CAL is planning to work with Air France to provide code-share services so that CAL passengers can take Air France flights to Paris, he said.

Ho emphasized that although CAL is already part of SkyTeam, one of the world's three major airline alliances, it continues to work with individual airlines to create better services and expand its flight network.

For instance, CAL started discussions about the possibility of code-sharing with airlines such as Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and Delta Air Lines last year.

To better cater to passengers in Asia, CAL has held similar discussions with Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines and Air India, he said.

In addition, CAL's subsidiary Tiger Taiwan, which has previously struggled financially, reported a profit of NT$30 million (US$947,178) in January, Ho said.

The turnaround is a direct result of Tiger Taiwan focusing on Northeast Asia instead of Southeast Asia, said Tiger Taiwan Spokesman Hansen Lin (???).

Lin said the goal is to increase passenger load from the current level of 70 percent to 80 percent in 2017 by targeting niche markets like Macau and Japan, as well as working more actively with travel agencies to attract more tour group passengers.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel