Taiwan-based Far Eastern Air Transport expects to receive three to five Airbus planes in September as part of the carrier’s efforts to start flights across the Taiwan Strait, the airline company said Saturday.
 
The exact number of planes Far Eastern Air will rent from Airbus will depend on how the local carrier does in repairing two grounded Boeing 757s, the carrier said.
 
Far Eastern Air, which resumed services in mid-April after a three year hiatus due to financial problems, currently operates a fleet of three MD-80 aircraft and provides four regular flights between Taipei and the outlying island of Kinmen each week.
 
The carrier said its fleet will expand with another MD-80 shortly after the completion of repair work on the plane.
 
After its service resumption last April, the carrier was assigned by the aviation authorities a total of 24 flights a week to the second and third tier Chinese cities of Taiyuan in Shanxi province, Sanya and Haikou in Hainan province, and Chengdu in Sichuan province.
 
However, Far Eastern Air failed to secure the most popular Chinese destinations, such as Beijing and Shanghai, where an empty seat in cross-strait flights is a rarity.
 
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) gave Far Eastern Air a condition that the airline must meet in order to operate cross-strait flights. The carrier must increase its fleet to nine planes by Oct. 20. Otherwise, the number of flights will be cut based on the size of the fleet.
 
Far Eastern Air said it is determined to meet the CAA’s demand either by accelerating its efforts to repair its existing planes or by renting new aircraft to launch cross-strait services.
 
In addition to the cross-strait routes, the carrier is planning to provide services to the outlying island of Penghu, as well as Siem Reap in Cambodia, starting this month.
 
 
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