Sun, Aug 29, 2010 - Page 3 News List

More direct flights to China to start in mid-September

AIR LINKSThe additional flights will be between Taiwan and Chinese cities including Beijing, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Qingdao and Guangzhou

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwanese and Chinese airlines have applied to open additional direct flights across the Taiwan Strait, but none of them are expected to begin before the middle of next month, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials said.

Taiwan and China agreed in May to allow airlines from both sides to offer 50 more direct cross-strait flights per week and carriers from each side began 14 weekly flights between Taipei’s Songshan Airport and Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport on June 14.

The remaining quota has so far not been used because of disputes about flight destinations and the inconvenient scheduling given to local carriers by China’s civil aviation authorities.

After the disputes were resolved in a new round of talks held early this month, however, the Taiwanese carriers came up with new applications last week, CAA officials said.

The planned extra flights include four to Beijing, four to Shenzhen, 15 to Fuzhou and Xiamen, two to Qingdao, two to Guangzhou and one to Changsha from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport; three to Fuzhou from Taichung Airport; two to Fuzhou, one to Xiamen and one to Guangzhou from Kaohsiung Airport; and one to Guangzhou from Songshan.

A CAA official said China’s General Administration of Civil Aviation has already referred the Taiwanese carriers’ flight plans to its local branches to allocate takeoff and landing times.

“It remains unclear whether our carriers will all be able to obtain ideal schedules,” the CAA official said. “Even if they can acquire landing and takeoff times, they will need 10 days to two weeks to prepare for opening the extra flights, so they are not expected to take off until mid-September.”

Chinese carriers have also filed applications with the CAA to operate extra flights, but the CAA has yet to approve any of them, although the official said carriers from both sides would inaugurate their extra flights at roughly the same time.

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