Government protects passengers, employees after TransAsia collapse

  • Date: 2016-11-22
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan
<p>20161122.jpg</p>

Executive  Yuan  Vice  Premier  Lin  Hsi-yao  held  a  news  conference  today  to  address  public  concerns  about  the  abrupt  suspension  of  flights  and  dissolution  of  TransAsia  Airways,  one  of  Taiwan’s  largest  carriers.  Prior  to  the  news  conference,  the  vice  premier  met  with  the  Ministry  of  Transportation  and  Communications  (MOTC),  Ministry  of  Labor  (MOL),  Ministry  of  Economic  Affairs,  Ministry  of  Justice  and  Financial  Supervisory  Commission  to  discuss  each  agency’s  response  and  subsequent  measures.

TransAsia  unexpectedly  announced  at  3  p.m.  Monday  that  all  of  its  flights  would  be  suspended  today.  The  MOTC  promptly  instructed  the  Civil  Aeronautics  Administration  (CAA)  to  set  up  an  emergency  response  team  and  convened  a  special  meeting  with  airline  companies,  airports  and  the  Tourism  Bureau  to  ensure  that  passenger  rights  are  protected.  Aviation  supervision  measures  were  also  tightened  to  ensure  the  safety  of  any  remaining  TransAsia  flights.

The  MOTC  asked  the  Taoyuan  International  Airport  Corp.  and  other  airports  to  maintain  orderly  operations  and  extend  full  assistance  to  travelers.  The  Taiwan  Railways  Administration  was  instructed  to  transport  stranded  passengers  on  domestic  routes  operated  exclusively  by  TransAsia,  such  as  the  Taipei-Hualien  and  Taichung-Hualien  services.  These  airports  and  train  stations  have  all  assigned  special  staff  to  offer  assistance.

To  safeguard  travelers’  rights,  the  MOTC  demanded  that  TransAsia  contact  passengers  with  reservations  and  rebook  their  flights  on  other  carriers.  The  airline  must  assign  specialists  to  its  customer  hotline  (02-4128133)  to  provide  answers  and  assistance.  If  a  passenger  requests  a  refund,  the  full  fare  amount  is  to  be  returned.  

The  MOTC  also  ordered  TransAsia  to  contact  cooperating  travel  agencies  and  offer  assistance  with  itinerary  rescheduling  and  ticket  refunds.  The  CAA  is  working  with  other  airlines  to  schedule  additional  flights  as  needed  or  employ  larger  aircraft  to  keep  travelers  moving.  The  Tourism  Bureau  will  guide  and  help  travel  agencies  work  through  these  issues.  

Starting  Wednesday,  the  CAA  will  monitor  TransAsia’s  customer  service  and  follow-up  efforts.  The  carrier  has  promised  to  set  up  a  dedicated  consumer  trust  account  to  provide  full  refunds  on  tickets  already  sold.  Stressing  that  consumer  rights  will  be  protected,  the  CAA  said  it  will  fulfill  its  responsibility  to  make  sure  the  airline  handles  these  matters  properly.

According  to  MOL  personnel  statistics  for  September,  TransAsia  employed  1,735  people,  including  178  who  chose  to  work  under  the  old  labor  pension  scheme,  332  who  have  service  years  under  both  the  old  and  new  labor  pension  schemes,  and  1,223  who  have  worked  under  only  the  new  scheme.  The  airline’s  old  labor  pension  payout  fund  still  contains  NT$310.88  million  (US$9.85  million),  which  is  sufficient  to  pay  for  employee  pensions  under  current  retirement  system  estimates.  TransAsia  also  indicated  that  it  has  the  financial  resources  to  cover  all  required  employee  severance  payments.

TransAsia  was  urged  to  submit  its  mass  layoff  plan  soon  so  that  labor  and  management  can  begin  negotiating  the  details  themselves,  the  MOL  said.  If  the  talks  fail,  the  Taipei  City  Department  of  Labor  will  be  asked  to  intervene.  The  MOL  also  called  on  TransAsia  to  meet  its  social  responsibilities  and  protect  the  rights  of  its  employees.