Officials from Taiwan and China will meet in Xiamen, Fujian Province, today to try and settle a dispute over an increase in direct flights across the Taiwan Strait, civil aviation sources said yesterday.
Civil Aeronautics Administration Director General Ying Cheng-pong (蹁蒟篷) said that in trying to resolve the impasse, Taiwan would follow the principle of equality. The Chinese delegation will be headed by a department chief of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China.
An agreement in May allowed carriers on each side to operate 50 additional flights to meet growing demand for cross-strait travel, increasing the total number of cross-strait weekly flights to 370.
Under the agreement, each side allocated 14 flights for the 〝direct-flight service between Taipei Songshan Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport.
However, the agreement also stipulated that 20 of the 50 new flights must be reserved for airports in Xiamen and Fuzhou, also in Fujian Province.
In Taipei＊s understanding of the agreement, however, Taiwanese carriers were not required to introduce any additional flights to the two Chinese cities, as they were already operating a total of 22 weekly flights to those destinations as part of their original quota of 135 flights per week.
Chinese sources would not disclose yesterday whether Taiwan＊s understanding of the deal would be upheld, saying the answer would not be known until after the meeting.
Another bone of contention has been the departure times allocated to Taiwanese carriers on the Beijing and Shenzhen routes, which were either very late at night or very early in the morning.
Ying said the administration would also seek to resolve that matter during the talks.
※This is a matter of equality,§ Ying said. ※If they want us to fly this number of flights to Fujian [Province], then the same rule should apply to Chinese carriers.§
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