Flying across Straits
Updated: 2008-06-17 13:48

With the minute of talks on cross-Straits weekend charter flights signed on Friday, mainland-based airline groups are preparing for new business.

A China Eastern Airline business team led by general manager Cao Jianxiong arrived in Taiwan on Saturday, company spokesman Li Jiang told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Monday.

Li said the team began their negotiations with local airline groups such as China Airlines and EVA Airways. They also held talks with appointed airports and travel agencies about marketing, service standards, in-flight food among others.

"We had business cooperation with the two companies as early as 2004. Though June 14 and 15 are weekends, local managers were willing to spend their private time discussing businesses with us, " said Li.

Currently China Eastern is considering the location of its Taipei department which will shoulder the company's local services of passenger and freight flights.

Following China Eastern, representatives from China Southern and Air China all arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for their local businesses. Detailed discussions will be fully scheduled from Monday.

According to the mainland-based Air China, the company will select attendants who are able to speak Taiwan's Minnan dialect and crews who have experience of cross-Straits chartered flights to serve the flights.

Meals will also be prepared to suit the different tastes of people from both sides.

Liu Shaoyong, board chairman of the Guangzhou-based China Southern, also vowed to select the best planes, most experienced crews and stewards for the flights.

Chen Yunlin, chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), signed a minute of talks on weekend chartered flights in Beijing on Friday.

The service, scheduled to start from July 4, will include 36 return flights each weekend, from Friday to Monday, and the number will increase according to demand, the minute said.

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