Officials from Taiwan and Japan yesterday approved a new air pact authorizing a robust increase in cargo and passenger transport capacities between the two countries.
The pact -- endorsed by the Association of East Asian Relations and the Japan Interchange Association -- guarantees that the number of regular passenger flights, chartered passenger flights and cargo flights offered by airline carriers from the two countries will all be increased substantially.
Under the new agreement, which took immediate effect, restrictions on the number of carriers on each route have been canceled and the regulation on carriers also acting as agents has also been eased, officials from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
Under the new agreement, the seat capacity of regular passenger flights offered by Taiwan carriers was raised by 43 percent over the year-earlier level, with the number of flights to Japan being increased as follows:
* Fourteen round-trip Taiwan-Osaka flights per week, up from seven last year;
* Fourteen Taiwan-Nagoya flights per week, up from seven;
* Fourteen Taiwan-Sapporo flights per week, up from five;
* Four Taiwan-Sendai flights per week, up from two;
* Seven Taiwan-Hiroshima flights per week, up from three.
The new pact allows regular passenger flight carriers to operate chartered flights. The number of chartered flight operators will also be increased.
Under the new accord, the capacity of all-cargo flights from Taiwan was increased from 12 co-efficiency points per week to 18 co-efficiency points, marking an increase of 50 percent, according to CAA officials.
As the new accord cancels restrictions on the number of carriers on each route, China Airlines Ltd (
With the removal of restrictions on carriers acting as agents, CAA officials said that Taiwanese carriers can establish their own subsidiaries in Japan and vice versa. This, he said, should help improve the carriers' management flexibility and raise the quality of their services.
The Association of East Asian Relations and the Japan Interchange Association are quasi-official agencies authorized by the Taiwanese and Japanese governments, respectively, to handle exchanges in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The renewed air pact is a shot in the arm for Taiwan in its efforts to double the number of tourist arrivals in Taiwan by 2008, CAA officials said.
Hong Kong and Macau citizens currently make up the largest portion of foreign passengers aboard all international flights operated by Taiwanese carriers, followed by Japanese.
Japan is Taiwan's largest source of tourists from overseas, with Japanese making about 1.1 million visits to Taiwan last year. Meanwhile, Taiwanese made 1.3 million visits to Japan in the same year.