Over 500 Taiwan passengers still stranded overseas by FAT's sudden flight suspensions

3,408 passengers affected by Far Eastern Air Transport's flight suspensions

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(CNA photo)

Update: 12:20 p.m.

FAT Chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) said at a press event on Friday (Dec. 13) that the company is not, in fact, suspending its operations and that it will obtain sufficient capital next week to continue funding them. Chang emphasized that he will not sack a single employee.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over 500 Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) passengers have been stranded overseas due to the company's sudden flight suspensions, which take effect today (Dec. 13), said Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Thursday (Dec. 12).

For the second time in its history, the 62-year-old Taipei-based airline announced it was suspending flights following years of serious losses after filing bankruptcy in 2008 and being resurrecting three years later.

It operated domestic flights out of Taipei and Kaohsiung to five other Taiwanese cities as well as international flights to Japan, South Korea, and China. The company canceled its services to many Southeast Asian countries in May.

A CAA official said the suspension of flights without prior notice plunges 3,408 passengers into chaos and uncertainty, as they have been forced to cancel their flights.

In addition, over 500 FAT passengers are now stranded overseas. However, the CAA is assisting passengers to fly with other airlines, according to a UDN report.

According to ezTravel, over 300 customers overseas have been affected, and the agency is in the process of helping them book new flights.

Lion Travel indicated that nearly 100 customers are waiting at hotels or airports. Meanwhile, Richmond Tours has successfully changed the flights of dozens of its customers stranded in Japan's Niigata Prefecture and Korea's Jeju.

Taiwan's Travel Agent Association estimated that the sudden suspensions would cause losses of up to NT$100 million (US$3.31 million) for all of the travel agencies partnering with the company.