Taipei, Tokyo to start flights
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official yesterday told the Central News Agency on condition of anonymity that regular direct flights between Taipei and Tokyo were set to begin in October following the completion of the fourth runway at Hanada Tokyo International Airport. The decision was made yesterday during negotiations held in Tokyo. Japanese officials welcomed the regular scheduled flights to Taipei and urged Taipei Songshan Airport to build a runway capable of handling 200-passenger aircraft, the ministry official said. Four Taiwanese and Japanese airliners will offer the flights.
US Navy to refurbish planes
The US Navy and Lockheed Martin Corp have reached a deal on the refurbishment of 12 P3-C Orion submarine hunting planes, said to be worth US$1.3 billion, the Kyodo news agaency said in a report yesterday. The agreement marked the last step in the deal, a senior legislative aide familiar with the matter was quoted as saying in the report. The deal, which received congressional approval in 2007, will see a contract signed in the next few weeks on refurbishing the aircraft, the aide said. A former Taiwanese deputy minister of defense quoted by Kyodo said the move on the aircraft reflected the new US administration旧 readiness to increase military engagement with Taiwan.
Flower festival begins
The 2009 Yangmingshan Flower Festival begins today with more than 100 cherry trees and various flowers blossoming along the mountain trails and in the parks. The annual festival will span 31 days, concluding on March 22. In addition to the cherry blossoms, Yangmingshan National Park is also home to azalea, camellia, peach blossoms and hydrangeas, Taipei City旧 Parks and Street Lights Office said. The office also invited the public to visit other venues, including the Shilin Presidential Residence, Shuangxi Park, Lin Yu-tang旧 House, the Floriculture Experiment Center and Qianshan Park. During the Flower Festival, traffic controls will be implemented along Yangde Boulevard. From 6am to 4pm, vehicles entering the Yangmingshan area on the weekends will need to pass through checkpoints on 胚uxing Bridge.
Route may open to Xiamen
A cargo and passenger ferry, Ocean LaLa, might begin service on the Keelung-Xiamen-Makung route in April, an official with the Kaohsiung Harbor Administration旧 Makung office said yesterday. The Taipei-based Excalibur International Marine Corp, which owns Ocean LaLa, has filed an application with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to operate the route, said Han Chi-yang (韓志揚), vice chief executive of the company. If the application is approved, the service will begin in April, sailing every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from Keelung Harbor to Xiamen in China旧 Fujian Province, then to Makung, capital of Penghu County, returning to Keelung the same day, said Chang Ya-fu (張雅富), director of the Makung office of the Kaohsiung Harbor Administration. The 2,292 tonne Ocean LaLa can accommodate 540 passengers, 54 private vehicles and six tour buses. The service will offer a new travel options to visitors between Taiwan and China, which will include a transit stop in Penghu and thus give the island group a chance to develop as a logistics hub, Chang said.