Mandarin Airlines (AE, Taichung Ching Chuan Kang) will continue to run flights to Hualien from Taipei Taoyuan and Taichung Ching Chuan Kang beyond February 15 the Taiwanese Ministry of Transportation and Communications has announced.

The China Airlines (CI, Taipei Taoyuan) subsidiary was awarded the two routes' rights following the collapse of their previous holder, TransAsia Airways (GE, Taipei Sung Shan), in November of last year. The authority was originally intended to last until February 15 following which they were to have been relinquished.

Allaying locals' fears that eastern Taiwan would be isolated on their expiration date, Transport Minister Ho Chen Tan told the Central News Agency that while the services would be retained, Mandarin Airlines would be allowed to charge higher fares to better cover its costs.

The domestic routes have proven to be a heavy burden to Mandarin Airlines given it plies them with EMB-190s as opposed to the ATR72-600s TransAsia used. It said in a statement to CNA that they have so far cost it TWD15 million (USD469,555) in losses.

To further boost the routes' viability, the ministry said it is considering lowering landing fees and service charges at Hualien airport.