Discounted domestic flights in Taiwan due to declining prices of gasoline

Discounted domestic flights in Taiwan due to declining prices of gasoline

TAIPEI - Starting next week, domestic airlines will offer discounted fares due to declining fuel prices, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).

Domestic air carriers have agreed to reduce fares even though fuel costs have yet to drop below the set price-adjustment point, said MOTC Deputy Minister Chen Chien-yu said yesterday.

According to preliminary reports from four domestic carriers, over half of off-peak domestic flights will be adjusted to 45 per cent off.

Uni Air may offer an off-peak flight from Greater Taichung to Kinmen County at NT$1,199 (S$50), reduced from NT$2,191. A one-way Taipei to Taitung trip via Mandarin Airlines is estimated at NT$1,345, down from NT$2,462.

All prices will be submitted to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) this morning, posted on carriers' websites by noon and be available on Dec. 15, according to the CAA.

International oil prices have been falling steadily over the past few months, translating to domestic diesel dropping by NT$1.3 per liter this month to their lowest levels in five years.

The cheaper airfares will apply until the end of January, said the CAA, adding that if international crude costs continue to decline, prices may be subject to further price reduction.

One For the Road

The transportation ministry said that if oil prices decline through December, there will be a fare adjustment for bus transport effective as early as mid-January.

If diesel drops below NT$24.8 per liter, road passenger services will have room to lower fares by 2.2 per cent.

According to the MOTC, bus transport from Tainan City's Sinying District to Budai Township is expected to drop by NT$4 per roundtrip, saving a commuter roughly NT$80 a month.

Sugar and Electricity

On Wednesday, the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) also said it could provide rebates to its customers.

Cheaper fuel has allowed the company to generate about NT$20 billion in profits, said company spokesman Roger Lee.

Legislators are scheduled to review Taipower's programme next week; if passed, an initial rebate of NT$9 billion will take effect.

Calculations based on total electricity generated indicate the rebate will amount to NT$0.042 per kilowatt-hour used. The average household uses about 330 kilowatt-hours per month, which means a monthly rebate of about NT$13.86 for NT$166.32 for a year.

Taiwan Sugar Corporation is also expected to reduce prices on products like soybean oil to align with actual costs of raw materials according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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