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Demand soars for U.S.-bound flights, pushing up ticket prices

2021-06-17
Focus Taiwan
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At Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo June 2, 2021
At Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. CNA photo June 2, 2021

Taipei, June 16 (CNA) With the United States opening up to travel, demand in Taiwan for U.S.-bound flights has soared recently, pushing up ticket prices to most destinations in North America, according to tourism sources.

In a statement Wednesday, EZ Travel said fares for destinations in the U.S. have risen dramatically since mid-May, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming months, given that California will soon lift almost all social distancing and capacity limits put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The travel agency forecast that the number of tickets sold in June is likely to be double or triple the number sold in May, with tickets to San Francisco and Los Angeles in greatest demand.

To meet that demand, major carriers flying between Taiwan and the U.S. have increased their flights on those routes, it said.

Since June 7, EVA Airways has been operating daily flights between Taoyuan and Los Angeles, up from three per week previously.

Flights to Seattle will also be increased from July 1-18 to four per week, from two weekly flights in June, while an additional flight per week will be added for travel to San Francisco and Vancouver.

Round-trip fares for EVA Air flights to Los Angeles departing later this month or in early July exceed NT$70,000 (US$2,532) for economy class, NT$90,000 for premium economy and over NT$220,000 for business class, according to EZ Travel's website.

All of those fares exceed prices available on EVA Air for travel to Los Angeles prior to the pandemic by at least 50 percent.

Meanwhile, China Airlines, which significantly cut back its flights starting April 29 after several of its pilots came down with COVID-19, has also announced it will add flights to Los Angeles on June 22, 24 and 29 and two extra flights each in July and August to Ontario, California.

From June, ticket prices on flights between Taiwan and the U.S. cost at least NT$68,000 in economy class and around NT$230,000 in business class, according to Taipei-based Lion Travel.

People who have booked tickets for the U.S. generally fall into one of five groups: those who have a U.S. passport, those who have a green card, those who are going to study in the U.S., the affluent, and foreign nationals residing in Taiwan, a Lion Travel executive said.

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