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Airlines boycott proposed

Swire Group
Andy Gilbert

A BOYCOTT of Cathay Pacific and China Airlines flights has been suggested by the Taiwan Consumer Council as a way of pressuring the airlines into lowering their fares.

Cathay and China Airlines charge about $2,500 for a return fare in contrast to about $1,700 by British Asia Airways, the council said. In a long-running issue over Hong Kong-Taiwan fares, the council has now suggested passengers should boycott the airlines unless they reduce their fares.

The Hong Kong Taiwan Tourist Operators' Association agreed the fares were high, but said it was up to the airline to decide on fares. 'We would hope that they would reduce their prices, but at the end of the day they provide more than 10 services each a day, whereas the other airlines provides just two a week,' a spokesman said.

A Cathay Pacific spokesman said the fares were approved by the respective governments and had not increased since October 1990, despite increases in operating costs.

'It is a standard airline pricing practice to charge a lower price when you have a significant product disadvantage, for example in terms of frequency,' he said.

'We offer 12 flights a day to Taipei, while some other carriers have only offered a twice-a-week service to the same destination.' He said some flights were operated at a loss, but Cathay wanted to maintain the frequency as a service to passengers.

A spokesman for China Airlines dismissed the idea of a boycott and said people paid extra for the convenience of being able to fly virtually when they wanted.