Taiwan’s Uni Air Sees Faster Domestic Market Recovery

Melv_L - MACASR, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – EVA Air’s regional airline, Uni Air enjoys a faster recovery of its operations as it witnessed a fast domestic market recovery.

Its mother company EVA Air meanwhile is not enjoying the uptick, unlike Uni Air.

Uni Air stated that the reason why the airline is able to rebound quickly is because of the success of the Taiwanese government in controlling the spread of the virus.

Its borders, however, remain closed for now, meaning international growth will take a while to recover.

Uni Air stated that: “On top of this, a majority of tourism agencies that sell international travel products have also transitioned their business model to selling domestic travel products over the past two years.”

“As such, the domestic travel products are now more prominent and dynamic, which in turn livens up the domestic travel market.”

The airline has shifted its marketing strategy towards local Taiwanese, as they could not rely on foreign tourists.

Uni Air is working closely with local tour agencies and governments to promote domestic tourism. The airline also touts that the success of the country’s vaccination program is a key reason why the country is seeing a faster domestic market recovery.

The regional airline is seeing domestic air passenger traffic increase 10-20% on a week-to-week basis, and the airline will adjust its flight schedules accordingly.

Regarding international passenger traffic, “IATA predicts the passenger volume in 2022 will be 75% of 2019, with potential to return to the same level in 2023.”

“We will see the market demand and strengthen our cooperation with Taiwan-based international carrier Starlux Airlines to divide the work as well as consolidate the resources,” the airline stated.

Here, we see a close working relationship between Uni Air and the relatively new start-up airline Starlux.  In fact, Chang Kuo-Wei, founder of Starlux Airlines, has been appointed the chairman of Uni Air. Chang’s extended family owns EVA Air. 

The chairman reinstated that the ATR is a workhorse for the airline, citing operation flexibility and fuel efficiency. The main reason why the airline is able to wither through the pandemic and catch the return in passenger traffic is its choice of aircraft.

The airline currently operates two A321 and 14 ATRs to support 50 to 80 daily flights across 16 domestic routes, capturing up to 65% of the market share.

The current routes that the airline flies are a mixture of point-to-point and hub and spoke from its operating base at Taipei Songshan Airport. The routes are shown below:

  • Songshan-Kinmen
  • Taichung-Kinmen
  • Jiayi-Kinmen
  • Tainan-Kinmen
  • Kaohsiung-Kinmen
  • Taipei-Penghu
  • Taichung-Penghu
  • Jiayi-Penghu
  • Tainan-Penghu
  • Kaohsiung-Penghu
  • Kinmen-Penghu
  • Taipei-Nangan
  • Taichung-Nangan
  • Taipei-Beigan
  • Taipei-Taitung
  • Taipei-Hualien

Before the pandemic, the airline flew international routes, Seoul (ICN), Ho Chi Minh City, and numerous destinations in China. There are no plans as of this moment, on whether international routes will return.

The airline’s close relationship with Starlux and EVA will give Uni Air a strong position in the Taiwanese domestic and the regional market.

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