Taipei, May 31 (CNA) Passenger airfares are likely to rise in the next few months, as aviation fuel prices and operational costs continue to increase sharply, the head of EVA Airways, one of Taiwan’s major carriers, said Tuesday.
While demand for air travel is expected to grow as COVID-19 restrictions ease worldwide, airlines are facing higher operational costs, including ground handling rates, amid rising inflation, EVA Air President Clay Sun (孫嘉明) said at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
The main factor likely to drive up airfares is the price of aviation fuel, which accounts for about 30 percent of airlines’operational costs, Sun said, noting that fuel prices are now hovering around US$120 to US$150 per barrel.
Airlines, therefore, are likely to raise or add fuel surcharges to their ticket prices to offset their growing operational costs, he said.
In the air cargo industry, meanwhile, there is some good news, as several electronic manufacturing companies in Shanghai have restarted production after months of tight lockdown in the Chinese city due to COVID-19, Sun said.
As Shanghai moves to ease its COVID-19 restrictions, the supply chain disruptions are likely to improve, which is expected to give a boost to the air cargo industry, he said.
Sun said EVA Air has been using 17 of its passenger jets as cargo planes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the airline is expected to take delivery of two new Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jets in the fourth quarter of this year.
Amid growing demand for air travel as countries around the world ease their COVID-19 restrictions, EVA Air will resume passenger flights in August between Bangkok and London, and Amsterdam and Vienna, Sun said, adding that the Bangkok-London flights are already 85 percent booked.
The airline, one of the two major carriers in Taiwan, also plans to restart its passenger flights from Taiwan to the American cities of Houston and Chicago in August and offer more frequent services to North America in general, Sun said.
In early November, EVA Air is aiming to open new passenger flight routes between Taiwan and some European destinations, in anticipation of Taiwan lifting some of its COVID-19 border restrictions around August, he said.
The new European routes will include two weekly flights to Milan in Italy, and four to Munich in Germany, Sun said.
Reporting to shareholders on EVA Air’s performance, Sun said the company is expected to show better results in the second half of the year than in the first six months and will issue a cash dividend of NT$0.6 per share for 2022.
(By Lai Yen-hsi and Evelyn Kao)


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