Huai’lin Airlines: Taiwan’s first new airline in 15 years named Hamlet

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Singapore’s long-haul carrier was based in Taipei, just up the road

The name of Taiwan’s first airline since the cancellation of numerous local ones in 2000 is “Hamlet”.

It is the name of the main character in the Shakespeare play, which has a portentous and mysterious air.

A representative for the airline says it may be flown initially from Taipei to Hualien, its largest city, though that route may not work.

The company is called Linhe Airlines, which has less than half a square kilometre of territory to show for itself.

It has formed a partnership with the big Changi airport, with a development plan of more than 1,000 hectares.

The air route to Hualien from Taoyuan, Taipei’s second largest city, is currently seasonal and ticket prices are sky high.

“If we have to wait a long time, there will be no meaning in our name ‘Hamlet’

“If we have to wait a long time, there will be no meaning in our name ‘Hamlet’,” the company’s chief executive Kuak Chen-cheng said.

In the play, the lead character’s name itself has the word ‘Hamlet’ in it – a pun on the word encephalitis.

Hamlet and the airline both involve a show of agency and the mysterious mind of a complex character.

However, in reality, there are questions surrounding the national carrier and its role as a force in the country.

Linhe carries with it the name of Taiwan’s flag carrier, National Air Transport Corporation (NATC), but currently NAC is struggling financially.

According to the latest economic index by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), NAC had accumulated a total deficit of NT$2.15bn ($66m) by the end of November.

The figure was 2.1 times greater than the previous deficit for the same period the previous year.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Air travel in Taiwan is meant to promote economic development

While NAC has a safety record similar to that of other carriers, such as Hong Kong Airlines, the airlines’ investors have not been pleased with the airline’s performance.

“We’re open for competition, but NAC has lots of staff, small planes and sometimes it takes too long to get there,” NAC’s president, Su Peng-yung, said at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Taipei in December last year.

“We think we can do it better.”

Even if NAC has nothing to do with the first airline launched under Linhe, which took off last month, Su Peng-yung is quick to add: “We’ll support what they do.”

Air travel is supposed to promote economic development in Taiwan, but critics of NAC say it often does not improve traffic, for example, although it has reduced the prices, from around $25,000 for a one-way ticket to around $300, according to recent CSO figures.

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