Taipei, A total of 8,628 passengers were impacted by a flight attendants strike which started at 4 p.m. Thursday, following the collapse of managementlabor talks earlier in the day and the cancellation of 22 EVA Airways flights, the carrier said.
Of the 36 scheduled EVA flights to depart and arrive Taiwan after 4 p.m., 22 flights will be canceled, while flights of its subsidiary, UNI Airways, will continue as normal, according to EVA Air.
There had been concerns that UNI Air, one of Taiwan's major domestic flight operators, would be caught up in the dispute as many EVA flight attendants also work on UNI Air flights.
Both airlines said they will prioritize UNIoperated local flights connecting Taiwan and its outlying islands, particularly flights from Taipei and Taichung to Matsu, as UNI Air is the sole operator on those routes.
The response is in line with plans by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), which has established a task force comprising mainly aviation and tourism officials to help transfer passengers.
The MOTC said it will also mobilize extra ferry services between Taiwan and Matsu should the strike expand or be drawn out.
In addition to Matsu flights, the ministry said, it will ask Mandarin Airlines to be on standby in case UNI flights connecting Taiwan, Penghu and Kinmen are cancelled.
Transportation Minister Lin Chialung who is in Belize in central America, said he would cut short his visit and return to Taiwan to handle the situation.
"The ministry is prepared for the strike, and we will help consumers and travel agencies protect their rights, as well as facilitate flight rescheduling by other airlines," Lin said in a video recorded in Belize.
On international flights, both the ministry and EVA Air said they will seek help from China Airlines, Taiwan's other major international carrier, and other airlines that are part of the Star Alliance, one of the three global airline alliances.
In addition to rescheduling, the carrier is planning to use bigger aircraft or add flights to transport more passengers, with shorthaul regional flights more likely to go ahead as scheduled.
EVA Air said it will do its best to maintain transport capacity, adding that for longhaul flights, priority will be given to those to Los Angeles and San Fransisco in the United States.
EVA Air said it will compensate individual passengers whose itineraries are delayed more than six hours, by paying up to US$250 per person toward dining and lodging expenses.
Passengers who ask for a refund or reschedule their flights will not be charged a processing fee, the carrier added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel