Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Regular cross-strait flights start Aug. 31

TAKEOFFThe flight service will be available from 27 cities in China, including six newly added airports in Jinan, Guiyang, Nanchang, Harbin, Hefei and Haikou

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced yesterday that cross-strait regular flights would be officially launched on Aug. 31.

The regular flight service was first mentioned in the agreement signed after the third round of cross-strait talks in April.

Both Taiwan and China agreed to raise the weekly number of flights from 108 to 270. The flights will be offered daily and jointly provided by airlines from both sides.

Meanwhile, the cross-strait flight service will be available from 27 cities in China, including six newly added airports in Jinan, Guiyang, Nanchang, Harbin, Hefei and Haikou.

The CAA also said that nine Chinese airlines have applied to operate the cross-strait flights, including three newcomers; Sichuan Airlines, Shandong Air and Shenzhen Airlines. Flights operated by Chinese airlines will land in either in Taipei or Taoyuan.

Flights from Taiwanese airlines have chosen to land in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Ningbo and several other airports where there is demand for a cross-strait flight service.

The announcement came after both sides completed months of negotiations on the appropriate date to launch the flights. While China had already set Aug. 31 as the date for the commencement of regular flights, Taiwan wanted the services to start sooner.

Until last month, CAA director Lee Long-wen (李龍文) had said that the service could start some time before Aug. 31.

The proposal, however, was rejected by the Chinese aviation authority.

Lee had said that China wanted to regulate the cross-strait regular flights using a special aviation law, which explained why it took so long to implement.

Starting last month, some domestic airlines began taking reservations for cross-strait regular flights.

Lee has also asked domestic airlines to lower ticket prices for cross-strait flights, including flights to Shanghai.

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