Flights between the city airports of Taipei and Shanghai

One of Taiwan’s carriers dismissed accusations by the Consumers’ Foundation Monday that it was overcharging for flights between the city airports of Taipei and Shanghai, saying the fares had been scrutinized by Taiwan’s aviation regulator.A spokesman for China Airlines, which flew the first flight from Taipei Songshan Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on Monday, told the Central News Agency that airlines could not dictate fares because they were set only after careful negotiations with the Civil Aeronautics Administration CAA.

The carrier stressed that the fares charged for nonstop flights between the city airports  roughly NT$14,000-NT$17,000  were similar to those between the more commonly used international gateways of Taoyuan International Airport and Pudong International Airport.China Airlines also noted that to celebrate the new route, it has launched promotions offering 10 percent discounts on tickets used by the end of June.Consumers’ Foundation Chairman Hsieh Tien-jen said earlier Monday that round trip fares for direct flights should be no higher than NT$10,000, and he urged the CAA to cancel the operating rights of carriers that kept their fares excessively high.

Spicer Lee, a spokesman for the Taipei Association of Travel Agents, said, however, that ticket prices for nonstop flights were not likely to fall by the end of this year because there is still a shortage of capacity between Taiwan and China.Besides, we have to take the Shanghai Expo into consideration, he said.There are currently 370 nonstop flights between the two countries every week, but Lee said at least 700 per week are needed to meet demand, a target he did not think would be met by the end of this year.Still, Lee believed that the current fares are a little bit too expensive.Bruce Huang, a 27-year-old information technology worker who took Monday’s first flight to Hongqiao Airport, said he was satisfied with the price he paid.The NT$17,000 round-trip ticket he bought one week ago for Monday’s flight was quite fair in his opinion.Before, my colleagues had to first stop in Hong Kong and then transfer to Pudong,  he said before boarding the flight. The travel time that used to take all morning can be reduced to about one hour as it is today.By Hsin-Yin Lee enditem ls

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