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
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
"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
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)