Taipei-Russian airline Royal Flight is expected to launch regular flights to Taiwan later this year, the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Sunday.
The agency said it has received a letter from Russia's civil aviation authorities designating Royal Flight to offer regular air services to Taiwan, but noted it has yet to receive a flight schedule application from the carrier.
The travel agency in Taiwan representing Royal Flight, Air Service Ltd., said the Russian carrier plans to launch nonstop scheduled service between Moscow and Taipei starting May 25.
The airline will fly between the two destinations once a week using Boeing 767-300 planes with over 300 seats. The flight takes about 10.5 hours, Air Service said.
If the passenger load factor on the 21 flights scheduled for this summer is high enough, Royal Flight will consider adding flights, the travel agency said.
According to information provided by Air Service, the Russia-Taiwan flight is set to depart from Moscow at 10:30 p.m. (local time) every Friday and arrive at Taoyuan International Airport at 2 p.m. Saturday. The return leg will depart at 5 p.m. from Taiwan and arrive in Moscow at 10 p.m. (local time).
Taiwan is five hours ahead of Moscow.
Royal Flight operated charter services to Taiwan in 2016 and 2017 and the passenger load factor averaged more than 80 percent, according to Air Service.
Russia's Transaero Airlines operated direct flight services to Taiwan in 2014 and 2015 in cooperation with China Airlines (CAL), one of Taiwan's leading international carriers, but the airline ceased operations late in 2015 because of financial difficulties.
The two airlines operated two flights per week on a codeshare Taipei-Moscow route via Bangkok.
Royal Flight's planned launch of service to Taiwan comes as Taiwan launched a 14-day visa-waiver program on a trial basis to visitors from Russia from Sept. 6, 2018 to July 31, 2019 as part of its efforts to attract tourists from high-latitude countries.
Taipei 101 Chairman Chang Hsueh-shun (???), who hosted a Russian travel agency group last year, said 40 million Russians travel abroad every year, but fewer than 10,000 of them come to Taiwan, mostly on business.
The figures indicate Russia's great potential as a source of tourists for Taiwan, Chang said.
Taiwan's Tourism Bureau said efforts will be made to develop the Russian market this year, including attending travel fairs in Russia and setting up a tourism information service center there to attract Russian tourists.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel