Taiwan and China have yet to agree on the date to launch regular cross-strait flights because Beijing insists on handling the issues under a special regulatory framework, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lee Lung-wen (李龍文) said yesterday.
Earlier this year, China set Aug. 31 as the date for regular flights. Taiwan wanted an earlier date.
“Things are easier on our side. We just treat them [cross-strait flights] as international flights,” Lee said. “To them [China], cross-straight flights are neither domestic nor international flights and they want to design a special law to regulate them.”
While both sides have yet to agree on a date, EVA Air (長榮航空) and Uni Air (立榮航空) said yesterday they had started taking reservations for the flights.
Nei Kuo-wei (聶國偉), a spokesman for the Evergreen Group that the two airlines belong to, said EVA Air and UNI Airways would initially operate regular flights to 11 Chinese cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Dalian, Ningpo and Chengdu.
Starting Sept. 28, the airlines will also fly to Qingdao, Wuhan and Chongqing, he said.
Lee said the airlines were taking reservations, but that the CAA had voiced concerns.
Meanwhile, Lee said airlines must lower the price of cross-strait tickets.
“They may not be able to do much with some of the popular flights, like those to Shanghai, but they can nevertheless offer some minor discounts on [them],” Lee said.
“The airlines have to try to lower the price for each and every flight route,” he said.
CAA figures showed that since cross-strait flights were launched last July, passenger loads on cross-strait charters had risen from an average of 65 percent to an average of 78.8 percent as of last month.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA