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Taiwan revokes Far Eastern Air Transport’s operating license

Compensation arrangement for ticket holders will be worked out early February

The Ministry of Transportation has revoked FAT's operating license. 

The Ministry of Transportation has revoked FAT's operating license.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Transportation announced Friday (Jan. 31) it was revoking the operating license for Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT), the airline which suspended its flights last December 13 amid financial troubles.

Airline chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維), whose silence had led to the theory that he might have fled the country, later reappeared with a promise that foreign investors were ready to stand by and revive the company with an infusion of NT$100 million (US$3.3 million).

However, since the airline had not respected the 60-day buffer period between an announcement and the ceasing of activities, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) had requested the revocation of the operating license by the ministry, CNA reported.

The precise procedure for the compensation of ticket holders left without a flight by the developments would be announced early February, the ministry said.

FAT would also have to pay a fine totaling NT$3 million (US$98,900) and its international routes would be eventually redistributed among other airlines, CNA reported.

On its six domestic routes, the ministry said it had mobilized other Taiwanese airlines and even the military to complete transportation requirements during the Lunar New Year holiday.

As to FAT’s personnel, management had not kept its promises to pay December salaries by Jan. 6, the ministry said, adding it had asked the Ministry of Labor to handle the labor rights issue and the CAA to help former airline staff with finding new employment.

Chang could face a prison sentence of up to three years if he failed to shoulder the legal responsibilities due to staff and customers, CNA reported.