Cross-strait flight talks to begin today in Beijing

Staff Writer, with CNA

Mon, May 16, 2011 - Page 11

Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Yin Chen-pong (尹承篷) is leading a Taiwanese delegation to a fifth round of cross-strait flight talks in Beijing, a CAA source said yesterday.

The talks, scheduled to begin today, will discuss whether and how non-stop cross-strait flights, launched at the end of 2008, should be expanded, the CAA official said.

Currently, there are 370 passenger flights between Taiwan and China each week. However, tour agents still complain that there are not enough flights, particularly for popular cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

It is the first time that a CAA head will lead a delegation to the cross-strait talks, which have taken place twice a year since mid-2009, the official said.

The Taiwanese delegations to the last four meetings were led by the CAA deputy director, while the Chinese delegations were headed by the director of the Transportation Department under the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the official said.

Yin is likely to meet with CAAC Director Li Jiaxiang (李家祥) during his stay in Beijing, the official said.

Two other issues involving transit flights and airworthiness certification are not expected to be tabled during the meeting, he said.

More than 5.5 million Chinese tourists visited Taiwan last year as part of tour groups. The figure is expected to top 6.5 million this year because Taiwan is expected to begin admitting independent Chinese tourists, probably at the end of next month.