The number of direct flights between Taiwan and China will rise more than 10 percent this year to 616 flights a week, an official said yesterday.
The two sides have agreed to add 58 flights to the present 558 weekly trips, Civil Aeronautics Administration Deputy Director-General Lee Wan-li (李萬里) said.
“It is fair to expect the new flights no later than April, but in the end it will be up to the carriers from the two sides which provide ... services on the routes,” he said.
China will put eight more destinations on the map, including Lijiang, a popular scenic spot in the southwest, while Taiwan will add Chiayi City, Lee said.
This will allow Taiwan to have direct air links with more Chinese cities than Hong Kong.
Officials say flights from the Chinese territory now go to fewer than 45 destinations in China.
Taiwan has 558 weekly flights with China, compared to about 800 from Hong Kong.
The number of weekly flights between China and Taiwan will increase to 616 starting in March.
Direct chartered flights began in 2008 and scheduled flights the following year, as relations thaw between Taipei and Beijing following the election of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) five years ago.
A ban on solo Chinese travelers was lifted in June 2011.
Previously, Chinese tourists were only allowed to visit Taiwan as part of official tour groups due to fears they might overstay their visas to work illegally in Taiwan.
A record 2.23 million visits were made by Chinese travelers to Taiwan last year, up almost 50 percent from the year before, according to the National Immigration Agency.