SHATTERED HOPES:Former TransAsia employees who sought jobs with FAT after the TransAsia collapse said the salary and benefits were only about half of those at TransAsia
Staff writer, with CNA
Former employees of TransAsia Airways Corp (復興航空), which abruptly ended its operations last month, are hoping that Far Eastern Air Transport Corp (FAT, 遠東航空) has a clear plan if it is serious about restructuring TransAsia.
FAT has taken steps to get approval to restructure TransAsia, and if it goes ahead, the airline expects to rehire about 1,000 former TransAsia employees.
TransAsia’s union on Saturday said in a statement that it would be good to have another airline take over TransAsia, but hopes that FAT has a concrete plan in place, otherwise employees’ hopes are likely to be shattered for a second time.
The union said that after the disbanding of the carrier on Nov. 22, some employees sought jobs at FAT, but the salary and fringe benefits are only half what they earned at TransAsia.
The union also said that FAT’s financial situation would have to be assessed, and it hoped that the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Financial Supervisory Commission would monitor the carrier to make sure it has the financial means to run a second airline.
FAT underwent massive restructuring in 2009 under real-estate tycoon Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) after the company’s finances were rocked by an embezzlement scandal and it halted all flights in 2008. The airline resumed flights in 2011 and the Taipei District Court ruled the restructuring complete in October last year.
In the first 10 months of this year, the number of passengers flying with FAT on domestic routes grew 25.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.23 million passengers.
However, numbers for international routes, including China, declined 23.86 percent to about 200,000 over the period, according to company statistics.
FAT has a smaller business scale in terms of routes and fleet compared with larger rivals China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) and EVA Air Corp (長榮航空), but the airline has outperformed its larger peers in profitability, with earnings per share of NT$1.3 in the first three quarters of the year, greater than CAL’s NT$0.33 and EVA’s NT$1.15, the companies’ data showed.
It is not known if TransAsia’s creditor banks would meet this week to discuss FAT’s restructuring bid, since major banks, including Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行) and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行), want to focus on the sale of TransAsia’s airplanes at first to protect their debts and assets, local media reported yesterday.