Wed, Jul 30, 2003 - Page 10 News List

China Air begins direct flights to Hanoi

DPA AND CNA , TAIPEI

China Airlines Co (中華航空) launched services from Taipei to Hanoi yesterday to accommodate the growing number of Taiwanese investors and tourists visiting Vietnam.

China Airlines used a B737-800 aircraft to launch its initial service of three weekly flights and has plans to offer daily flights in the future.

The carrier said it decided to launch the Taipei-Hanoi route because of the economic boom in Vietnam and close trade ties between the two countries.

In addition, increasing numbers of Vietnamese immigrants in the US -- called Viet khiau or overseas Vietnamese -- are returning to Vietnam for family visits by flying from the US to Taipei and then onto Ho Chi Minh City.

"Some 600,000 seats were sold on the Taiwan-Vietnam route last year. Half of the passengers were Viet Khiau who changed flights in Taipei," said Jack Tsai (蔡家煌), president of the Hongyi Travel Service Co (鴻毅旅行社), which specializes in organizing tours to Southeast Asia.

Following China Airlines' lead, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) will launch Taipei-Hanoi flights on Sept. 17, with four round-trip flights per week.

An average of 11,000 Taiwan-ese visit Vietnam every month for travel or business, up 10 percent from last year.

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