Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 4 News List

CAL to kick off New Year's flights

VIRGIN TRIP The Taiwanese carrier will make the first cross-strait holiday voyage -- albeit routed out of its way via Hong Kong airspace -- from Taipei to Beijing

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

China Airlines (CAL) will take the lead on cross-strait Lunar New Year charter travel by flying from Taipei to Beijing at 4:05am Jan. 29, according to a schedule for the holiday flights unveiled yesterday by the six Taiwanese carriers.

But the airlines need to apply for the Civil Aeronautics Administration's (CAA) approval in advance concerning the flight schedule, CAA Director-General Billy Chang (張國政) said.

"According to the regulation that was approved by the Mainland Affairs Council, six carriers from each side will jointly operate 48 direct, nonstop charter flights during the period from Jan. 29 to Feb. 20 between Taipei and Kao-hsiung and Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Only Taiwanese businessmen and their families can take the flights; students studying in China cannot, Chang said.

Asked about which Chinese carriers will be involved, Chang said "I have not received any information about that from China, but according to the Macau agreement, Chinese carriers could apply for the charter flights either in China or Taiwan."

"Although the six Taiwanese carriers have worked out their flight schedules in line with the agreement, the CAA has not received any applications," he said.

According to the schedules that have been announced by the local carriers, China Airlines will take the lead by flying from Taipei to Beijing on Jan. 29, using a 400-seat Boeing 747-400 to make the flight.

The local carriers will make a total of 11 round-trip flights. Guangzhou will be the leading destination among the three Chinese cities as it has the largest number of Taiwanese businesspeople in China.

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