Taiwan-Palau flights canceled until June 8 amid COVID concerns

17-May-2021 Intellasia | Focustaiwan | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan’s flagship carrier, China Airlines (CAL), has canceled all direct flights to the Pacific island state Palau until June 8, the airline confirmed on Friday, citing stricter COVID-19 protocols as the main reason.

Dozens of customers will be affected by the decision made by CAL, Hsiao Po-jen, head of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan), said on Friday.

Hsiao, however, described the impact as limited as many customers had already canceled their trips on their own due to an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Taiwan recently.

According to CAL, flights bound for Palau were canceled because the company has to comply with a Taiwanese government order issued on May 10, which requires flight crew complete a 14-day quarantine upon their return to Taiwan.

Previously, they were only required to quarantine for three days, which was raised to five days in early May after a cluster infection involving CAL pilots, staff at the Novotel airport hotel where CAL flight crew members were quarantined, and some family members of infected pilots and hotel employees broke out recently.

The government tightened requirements further following an increase in domestically-transmitted cases in recent days.

CAL said on May 11 that around 10 percent of its cargo services would be affected by the government order.

The Taiwan-Palau travel bubble programme officially began on April 1, allowing residents of the two countries to travel largely quarantine-free, provided they follow certain protocols, such as only travelling in groups.

However, tourism agencies had reported that sales fell short of expectations.

Concerns about the recent upsurge in domestically-transmitted COVID-19 cases in northern Taiwan have also impacted domestic tourism.

Lion Travel Service Co., a major tourism agency in the country, announced on Friday that all group tours scheduled between May 15 to June 8 to Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Yilan and Keelung have been cancelled.

Customers can opt for other tour packages, postpone their trips, or claim refunds, the company said.



Category: Taiwan

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