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Fair Trade Commission to investigate cross-strait flight pricing

Fair Trade Commission to investigate cross-strait flight pricing

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) under the Executive Yuan said Thursday that it will investigate whether local air carriers have formed cartels to hike fares, in response to controversy over what critics have described as excessively high ticket prices on direct cross-Taiwan Strait routes.
The commission's comments came in the wake of passengers complained that ticket prices for flights between Taipei's Songshan Airport and Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport are too high.
Carriers found guilty of price fixing or other cartel behavior in violation of the Fair Trade Law will face fines of between NT$50,000 (US$1,500) and NT$25 million, according to the commission.
The FTC said that as there are big price discrepancies between different ticket types from different ticket distribution channels, consumers should take this into account when purchasing tickets for direct flights to China.
Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih said airline pricing is a complex problem and that at present, the high air fares on the cross-strait routes are the result of market demand surpassing supply.
He added that the ministry will communicate with carriers in an effort to persuade them to cut prices, although he admitted that the ministry has no authority to intervene.
Lee Long-wen, director-general of the ministry's Civil Aeronautics Administration, said he will discuss the matter with airline companies within the next two days.
Meanwhile, representatives of local carriers called on the government to allow fares to be decided by market forces and said that as cross-strait direct flights are considered international flights, there is no need for fares on the routes to be scrutinized by the aviation regulator.
Currently, three Taiwanese carriers operate direct flghts between Songshan Airport and Hongqiao Airport, all of which are offering discount tickets until the end of June.
Round-trip fares charged June 14, when the direct flights were launched, were roughly NT$13,000-NT$17,000, according to data provided by airline companies, with prices expected to increase to NT$17,000-NT$20,000 over the next three months.
(By Cheng Yun-hsuan, Wang Shu-fen and Y.L. Kao)




Updated : 2021-10-22 18:55 GMT+08:00