Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Taiwan's UNI Air opened a route linking Taipei and Hualien in eastern Taiwan on Thursday, offering two flights a day.
The move by the airline came after the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) reassigned domestic routes previously operated exclusively by TransAsia Airways to other airlines after the abrupt suspension of flights and dissolution of the airline in November last year.
Under the re-assignment deal, the Taichung-Hualien route was reassigned to Mandarin Airlines.
UNI Air is a domestic subsidiary of EVA Air, while Mandarin Airlines is a subsidiary of China Airlines.
To mark the official takeover of the two routes, the two carriers are offering a 45 percent and a 50 percent discount, respectively, on ticket prices for the two routes through the end of June.
At a ceremony at Hualien Airport to mark UNI's maiden flight on the route, UNI Air Chairman Solomon Lin (林志忠) said the airline launched the new route with the aim of luring more passengers.
Touting Hualien's unique geological and geographic features, Lin noted that world renowned American director Martin Scorsese said after shooting a film in Taiwan in 2015 that Hualien was the place that most impressed him in Taiwan.
Hualien has the country's most beautiful coastline, has been rated as the happiest place to live in Taiwan and has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, Lin went on, adding that he believes these advantages will provide enormous business opportunities for the airline.
At the ceremony, Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) said that demand for flights to Hualien was high about 20 years ago and he expressed hope that more flights can be added on the Taipei-Hualien route in the future to help Hualien Airport regain its past prosperity.
After the takeover, Mandarin Airlines will offer three flights on the Taichung-Hualien route on Tuesday, Friday, Sunday per week, with the maiden flight scheduled for Friday, according to the airline.
(By Lee Hsien-feng and Evelyn Kao)