Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Beijing proposes 18 cross-strait flights per weekend, bringing 1,000 tourists

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said the Chinese government has proposed to allow 18 weekend cross-strait charter flights per week, which would bring in an estimated 1,000 Chinese tourists, the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC, 工商協進會) official told reporters yesterday.

The Chinese government’s proposal differs significantly from President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) promise to launch weekend cross-strait charter flights in July and allow 3,000 Chinese tourists to enter the country per day.

“Since 18 weekend cross-strait charter flights was proposed by the Chinese government, let us make this become a reality first,” CNAIC chairman Theodore Huang (黃茂雄) told reporters after the association’s meeting with Liu yesterday.

However, the Chinese government demands all flights fly over Hong Kong’s airspace before landing in Taiwan, which will add an additional 20 minutes to the trip. But Huang said it would still enable travelers to save almost two hours by not having to transfer to a second flight.

“In order to increase convenience, our next goal is to push for direct flights between China and Taiwan and to increase the number of flights,” Huang said.

Liu said yesterday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the government’s planned launch of weekend cross-strait charter flights in July, which he promised would be launched as scheduled.

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