Taiwan’s international flight carriers can resume in-flight duty-free shopping services, but only for outbound passengers, after securing permission from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.
As part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, China Airlines (CAL), EVA Airways, Tigerair Taiwan and Starlux Airlines suspended in-flight duty-free sales at the end of January.
The nation’s disease-prevention efforts have been proven effective in preventing the spread of the virus, so agency officials met with airline executives to discuss resuming duty-free services before submitting the proposal to the CECC for approval, the CAA said.
Photo courtesy of EVA Airways Corp
The CECC agreed to ease the restrictions on airlines by allowing them to sell duty-free products to passengers on outbound flights, but not on inbound flights, and the airlines are required to still observe certain disease-prevention guidelines, the CAA’s official notice to the airlines said.
Specific cabin crew should be designated to take charge of duty-free sales, and they must wear protective equipment, it said.
Flight attendants are not allowed to promote duty-free products and duty-free catalogues cannot be placed in the seatback pockets, it said.
However, if passengers request a catalogue, they can be given one, but airlines cannot recycle the catalogues, it added.
Passengers should order their duty-free products via the seatback screen systems, and payment can only be made with credit cards, the agency said.
CAL and EVA Air said that their in-flight duty-free shopping services would resume on all departing flights as of Thursday next week, the first day of four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
Tigerair Taiwan, CAL’s budget airline, said that it was still assessing when the best time to resume duty-free shopping would be, which would depend on how quickly it adds flights to its scheduled.
It currently operates one flight to Tokyo and one to Bangkok per week.
Starlux said it resumed its in-flight duty-free service as soon as it received the CAA notice last week on the two routes it is currently operating to Macau and Penang.
It has not resumed flights to Da Nang, Vietnam.
Airlines are generally in favor of a partial resumption of in-flight duty-free services as a way of generating additional revenue during the pandemic.
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