Long flight delays expected at Taoyuan and Kaohsiung airports

Local | 8 Feb 2019 10:02 am

A strike by pilots has forced China Airlines, one of Taiwan's two major carriers, to cancel 26 flights today through Sunday, according to the airline.

China Airlines announced the cancellations on its website (https://calec.china-airlines.com/typhoon/FLIGHT_INFORMATION_en.aspx) after news late yesterday that hundreds of its 1,300 pilots could go on strike starting 6:00 a.m. today. All three major airports in Taiwan were expected to be affected, CNA reports.

The canceled flights include those for destinations such as Los Angeles, Manila, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

It is the first time that Taiwan's air travel during a Chinese New Year holiday has been disrupted by a strike although China Airlines was hit by a 24-hour strike of its flight attendants in June 2016, forcing 76 flights to be canceled with at least 20,000 passengers being affected.

It remained unclear how long the latest strike would last.

Passengers can expect long delays today at Taoyuan and Kaohsiung International Airports and Taipei Songshan Airport following the announcement made close to midnight yesterday by the China Airlines branch of Pilots Union Taoyuan.

Out of a total of 1,300, some 500 China Airlines pilots responded positively earlier in the week to a questionnaire over the possibility of a strike during one of the busiest periods of the year for air travel.

The Ministry of Transportation said in the early hours of today that it was setting up an emergency center to cope with the issue. The 9-day holiday is due to end on Sunday.

Many of the China Airlines pilots have complained about long work hours on long-distance flights and have criticized the company's management for refusing to make improvements for fear of higher costs.

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