Taiwan pilot strike grounds thousands of passengers during New Year holiday
Passengers wait to check in at the Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Feb. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO
A man walks past he logo of Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) at the Taipei International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/DAVID CHANG
Passengers wait to check in at the Taipei International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/DAVID CHANG
Passengers wait to check in near the counter of Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) at the Taipei International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/DAVID CHANG
Taipei, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- A strike called by the pilots of Taiwan's China Airlines (CAL) has led to the cancellation of 26 flights, grounding more than 4,000 passengers during the busy Lunar New Year holidays, the airline said on Friday.
Hundreds among the 1,300 pilots of the Taiwanese airline started a strike on Thursday after negotiations over improved salaries and work hours with the airline broke down, CAL said.
The CAL pilots affiliated to the Taoyuan Pilots Union went on strike from 6 am on Thursday after negotiations were inconclusive and have not given a date for returning to work.
Ninety percent of the flights operating from the Taoyuan Airport outside Taipei will not be affected until 4pm on Friday and flights from Taipei Songshan and Taichung airports will continue according to schedule, CAL President Hsieh Shih-chien said at a press conference.
The cancelled flights include services for Los Angeles, Manila, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
The Pilots Union Taoyuan said CAL had refused to fulfill their demands of salary hikes and an increase in the rest hours, after some pilots had complained of overwork and fatigue.
In June 2016, CAL pilots had led a 24-hours strike leading to the cancellation of 76 flights, affecting more than 20,000 passengers.
The Taiwanese transport ministry has established an emergency center to minimize problems faced by the travelers, during a nine-day holiday period for the Lunar New Year celebrations which end on Sunday.
Chinese communities across Asia are celebrating the Lunar New Year of the Pig, the 12th symbol of the Chinese horoscope.
The most important festival of the year in the region, the New Year is traditionally celebrated with family and triggers massive numbers of people returning to their hometowns as well as visiting tourist destinations during the holidays.
Taiwan is among the most popular destinations for tourists from China and other countries in the region during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Travel website Agoda ranked Taipei as the third most popular destination, based on booking statistics, during the holiday which began last Saturday and runs through to Sunday.