TransAsia Airways flights suspended

Financially troubled airline TransAsia Airways, said on Tuesday its board had approved a move to wind down the company and that all flights would be suspended.

In a statement on its website late Monday, the air carrier said it had requested a halt in trading of its shares before an “impromptu board meeting” Tuesday.

“We offer our deepest apologies to travelers affected tomorrow,” the airline said Monday, without elaborating further. All of the carrier’s 84 flights on Tuesday were canceled, stranding around 5,000 passengers according to Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration.

TransAsia has reported losses in each of the previous six quarters up to the end of September, hurt by a downturn in business after two plane crashes in 2014 and 2015.

TransAsia was formed on 21 May 1951 as the first private civil airline in Taiwan. It also served as local agent of foreign airlines and provided airport ground handling services for foreign airlines. Air services ceased in 1958 when the management of the airline decided to concentrate their attention on their agency businesses.

Domestic flights resumed in 1988, after a 30-year absence from the market. In 1991, the first ATR 72 aircraft joined the airline. In 1992, unscheduled charter services to international destinations, including Laoag, Manila, Cebu, Phnom Penh, Surabaya, Yangon, Phuket, Danang and Manado started.

First scheduled international services started in 1995 to Macau and Surabaya. In early 2012, the airline was reported to be considering an order for Airbus A380 aircraft to facilitate expansion to the United States.

On 1 November 2011, TransAsia Airways listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. In January 2014, the airline announced plans to launch a budget airline named V Air. However, the budget airline closed on 1 October 2016 and merged with TransAsia.

Upon learning of the decision, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said it has asked TransAsia Airways Chairman Vincent Lin to provide a report on the matter by Tuesday afternoon.

On July 23, 2014, TransAsia flight 222, an ATR 72-500 registered B-22810 carrying 54 passengers and 4 crew members from Kaohsiung to Magong, crashed near Magong Airport on Penghu Island. This accident was followed by another one only seven months later when, on February 4, 2015, TransAsia flight 235, an ATR 72-600 registered B-22816, had an engine failure after takeoff and crashed into the Keelung River near Taipei, killing 43 of the 53 passengers and 5 crew on board.

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