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Taiwan's TransAsia Airways to suspend operation

Updated: 11 28 , 2016 14:45
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TAIPEI, Nov. 21 -- Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways announced Monday that it will suspend operation on Nov. 22 without elaborating on the cause.

The island's third largest carrier said it will release more information to the general public after holding a temporary shareholders' meeting on Tuesday.

The company said passengers would get a refund for their tickets within 45 days.

Taiwan's aviation regulator said TransAsia Airways will be punished for its abrupt suspension, and for not reporting it to the regulator and the general public in advance.

The company has been slammed for poor flight safety for years. On Feb. 4, 2015, a TransAsia Airways ATR-72 airplane crashed into Keelung River in Taipei shortly after takeoff, killing 43 people of 58 people onboard.

On July 23, 2014, TransAsia Flight GE222, a ATR 72-500 model, crashed near Magong Airport in Penghu.

The company did not achieve any remarkable improvements in safety measures after those mishaps. The aviation regulator said earlier this year that it had neglected flight safety and fostered a culture of sloppy practice among its ATR 72 pilots.

TransAsia Airways reported a loss of 2.22 billion new Taiwan dollars (69.54 million U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters.

The company's share prices plummeted after news of the suspension was released. An official from the island's labor department was quoted saying that the carrier was on the brink of closure.

According to Taiwanese laws, the carrier could be fined up to three million new Taiwan dollars for the abrupt announcement and suspension.

Founded in 1951, the island's first private airlines, TransAsia Airways first focused on routes in the island. It now operates many international and cross-Strait flights.

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