‘Hamlet’ in the skies? The story behind Taiwan’s newest airline was one of the key behind-the-scenes developments in the Asian Pacific region, as Taiwan’s former president, Yen Chia-kan, took the stage Friday to kick off Airblue’s initial public offering.
“I would like to see Taiwan become one of the largest airlines in the world. I believe in Taiwan’s aviation and I believe in the airworthiness of Taiwan’s aviation industry. I strongly believe in the future of Taiwan’s aviation industry,” said President Yen, who was the former leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the world’s first democratically elected president with Chinese ancestry.
The Air Blue brand will begin offering services on September 1, the first day that Air Blue is allowed to operate.
“We believe Taiwan’s aviation industry has the potential to become the world’s dominant aviation industry,” said Air Blue chairman Shih Chen-min, a retired aviation engineer, in his opening remarks Friday.
“The market for air tickets is growing year on year and especially the more senior customers are seeking out air transport,” said Chairman Shih, who is based in Taiwan.
Air Blue, with a fleet of 30 aircraft, will be able to serve more than 200 more destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, Shih said.
Air Blue was established last week as a fully state-owned enterprise after the DPP assumed complete control of the airline, which was previously a public corporation.
The DPP is now planning to begin using the airline to expand its influence in the region, especially to countries with which it has been at odds in recent elections.
“We believe Taiwan has the potential to become the aviation hub for the region. Our mission is to strengthen ties and strengthen the relationship. We want to push the boundary to the very best of our capability,” Shih said.
In September 2000, the DPP was elected the country’s first democratically elected president. At the time, then-president Chen is widely believed to have made a power play to force the DPP to pass a law legalizing and legalizing the company, which was the world’s biggest aviation holding company.