China Airlines (CAL) plans to launch new routes to London and Paris, chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) said on Wednesday, adding that he is optimistic the airline will perform better 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, adding that the most desirable aviation hub, Heathrow Airport, is overcrowded.
As for 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 said 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 last year started discussions about the possibility of code-sharing with airlines such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines, Ho said, adding that to better cater to passengers in Asia, CAL has held similar discussions with Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines and Air India.
CAL’s low-budget subsidiary Tigerair Taiwan, which had been struggling financially, reported a profit of NT$30 million (US$974,279) last month, Ho said.
The turnaround was a direct result of Tigerair Taiwan focusing on Northeast Asia instead of Southeast Asia, Tigerair Taiwan spokesman Hansen Lin (林俊男) said.
The goal is to increase passenger load from 70 percent to 80 percent this year by targeting niche markets, such as Macau and Japan, as well as working more actively with travel agencies to attract more tour groups, Lin said.
EVA Air on Wednesday debuted an airplane decorated with popular animated character Gudetama, created by Japan’s Sanrio Co, to its Taoyuan to Cebu, Philippines, route.
In cooperation with Sanrio, the airline is to operate one flight to Cebu and one from Cebu every day, EVA Air said.
EVA Air said it decided to add a second Gudetama-themed airplane to its fleet after the first one, introduced in November last year on the Taoyuan to Tokyo route, proved popular with customers.
Gudetama, unveiled by Sanrio in 2013, is a grumpy egg yolk known for being lazy and suffering from ennui.
Cebu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines and boasts beautiful white beaches, outdoor adventure activities, snorkeling and diving locations, EVA Air said, adding that on a Gudetama flight, the cartoon character also adorns pillows and tableware, among other in-flight items.
The new cartoon character-themed airplane was launched following an announcement by the airline earlier this month that it plans to retire four of its Hello Kitty-themed airplanes in the first half of this year in favor of other popular animated characters.
Also created by Sanrio, Hello Kitty first appeared in 1974.
From 2011 to 2015, EVA Air launched seven Hello Kitty-themed airplanes in collaboration with Sanrio.
In November last year, the carrier retired one of the seven Hello Kitty planes and replaced it with a Gudetama jet.