Tue, May 17, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan to ask for more direct flights

Staff Writer, with CNA

The main focus of the latest round of aviation talks between Taiwan and China that opened in Beijing yesterday will be to increase the number of direct flights across the Taiwan Strait to bring down fares, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.

The CAA said it hoped to increase the number of flights from the current 370 per week to 500, which would likely push fares down, especially to popular destinations such as Shanghai.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) echoed the CAA’s hopes and told lawmakers that a short supply of cross-strait flights was the reason why fares had remained high.

He added that the major hurdle to expanding flights was overcrowded airports in popular destinations, such as Shanghai and Beijing.

The ministry said it was encouraging Taiwanese airlines to schedule late-night flights and develop routes to other destinations in China.

Mao said Taiwanese airlines could consider launching flights to destinations located near major Chinese cities, such as Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai.

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) also urged the central government to increase the number of direct flights between her city and China before Taiwan opens up to independent Chinese tourists.

Of the 370 flights between Taiwan and China, 27 connect Greater Kaohsiung and eight airports in Chinese cities.

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