Taiwan airlines offer sight-seeing flights during pandemic

  • Sunday 09, August 2020 08:53 AM
  • Taiwan airlines offer sight-seeing flights during pandemic
Sharjah24 – AFP: Faced with the coronavirus collapse in travellers, Taiwanese airlines have begun offering sight-seeing "flights to nowhere" on their passenger jets -- including flight attendant lessons for children.
At the headquarters of Taiwan's China Airlines in Taoyuan on Saturday, 50 children took a morning course on how serve passengers aboard a mock cabin.

Cheng Yu-wei, who works in the fashion apparel business and enjoys travelling abroad, came with his wife and six-year old daughter to "revive that old feeling of travelling".

Later in the day, the excitable gaggle of kids took to the skies in their new uniforms for a two hour flight over the island and the soaring mountain range that runs down its spine.

The flights are part of an innovative attempt by airlines to scramble up some extra cash at a time when their business has all but dried up.

Like most airlines around the world, both China Airlines and its main competitor Eva Air have had to mothball a huge chunk of their fleet as international travel evaporates during the pandemic.

The two also have a limited domestic business to fall back on.

On Saturday, an Eva A330 from Taoyuan International Airport flew over Taiwan's northeast cape, circled Japan's Ryukyu Islands before returning home via the picturesque and rural southeast coast. The total flight time was two hours and 45 minutes.

An economy seat is selling for around NT$5,288 (US$180) while business class costs NT$6,288.

The China Airlines flight lasts around two hours and will also fly into Japanese airspace before turning around to the eastern coast of Taiwan.

Further flights are planned in the coming weeks and both Eva and China Airlines say they have quickly sold out.

Local enthusiasm for the trips has been helped by the knowledge that there is currently little chance of catching the coronavirus on a Taiwanese flight.