Taiwan airlines mobilize larger aircraft amid domestic travel surge

Uni Air's Airbus A321 is the largest plane ever to have landed in Taitung

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Uni Air flies to Taitung with the Airbus A321. 

Uni Air flies to Taitung with the Airbus A321.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As foreign travel has dwindled due to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Uni Air added the Airbus A321 to service the route between Taipei and the southeastern city of Taitung Friday (July 10).

During the June 25-28 Dragon Boat Festival holiday, thousands of Taiwanese traveled from cities in the north and west to the relatively sparsely populated east coast. Taitung County faced traffic jams and long lines for ferry services to Green Island and Orchid Island.

As of Friday, Taiwan counted 451 coronavirus cases, with none of those in Taitung County.

Uni Air, the regional affiliate of EVA Air, said the ATR72-600 planes, with a maximum passenger capacity of 70 were no longer enough to meet demand, CNA reported. So, Friday morning, an A321 able to carry 184 travelers landed in Taitung for the first time in the airport’s history.

The aircraft will service 14 flights in July and 16 in August, Uni Air said. Uni and its competitor, China Airlines subsidiary Mandarin Air, each fly three times daily between Taipei Songshan Airport and Taitung.