More Taiwan charter flights

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-14 07:24

A total of 96 cross-Straits non-stop charter flights an increase from 72 last year will be operated during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays, a senior official announced yesterday.

Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the round-trip flights will be operated by six mainland and an equal number of Taiwan carriers from February 5 to March 2.

The arrangement was based on an agreement reached in June between non-governmental aviation associations from both sides, he told a regular press conference.

The chartered flights are expected to operate between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on the mainland, and Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

As in the previous years, the flights are restricted to Taiwan residents, Taiwan businessmen on the mainland and their family members.

This will be the fourth year that cross-Straits Spring Festival charter flights have been in operation.

Due to Taipei's decades-old ban on the three direct links trade, transport and postal services across the Straits, travellers usually have to make an extra stop, typically in Hong Kong or Macao.

In line with a landmark agreement reached between Taiwan and the mainland in June, the charter flights have been extended to cover other traditional Chinese holidays including Qingming Festival, or Tomb-sweeping Day, and Duanwu (Dragon Boat) Festival.

"To better serve people from both sides, we hope aviation associations from both sides hold talks as soon as possible to increase the number of places and flights and ease restrictions on people who can take flights," Li said.

The spokesman also said two Chinese mainland banks have taken steps to give financial support to Taiwan companies in line with an agreement with the Taiwan Affairs Office.

China Development Bank and Huaxia Bank have each granted more than 3 billion yuan (US$ 375 million) in loans to Taiwan companies in the electronic, chemical, metallurgy, and construction materials sectors.

(China Daily 12/14/2006 page1)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours