Court grants relief to debt-ridden Taiwan airline


TAIPEI – A debt-ridden Taiwan airline with domestic and international routes has received 90 days court protection from creditors and permission to restructure the company, local media said on Saturday.

The Taipei District Court gave its ruling on Friday to Far Eastern Air Transport, a 51-year-old company that bills itself as the first private airline run by Taiwanese people, to help it ease reported debts of T$9.99 billion ($317 million), according to local media.

Over-the-counter trading of the airline’s shares will be suspended for three months from Monday, media reports said.

Far Eastern’s spokesman welcomed the court ruling, Taiwan media said, emphasising that the airline would seek cash flow through normal operations. It flies to eight second-tier cities in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific and throughout Taiwan.

Far Eastern has already sold interests in other companies to repay debts, local media said.

Airline officials were unavailable for comment on Saturday.

Taiwan’s domestic airlines have struggled over the past year against competition from a new high-speed rail system that charges comparable fares for rides to major cities on Taiwan’s heavily populated west coast.