Home>News Center>China

Cross-Straits jets ready for take-off
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-16 23:01

Airlines from the Chinese mainland are gearing up to operate charter flights across the Taiwan Straits following a landmark deal inked on Saturday.

Air carriers -- including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines -- confirmed to China Daily that they are all interested in conducting flights although they have not yet been given nod from the nation's industry watchdog.

Air China planes at Beijing Capital International Airport. Taipei and Beijing have agreed to allow direct flights across Taiwan Straits for next month's Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. [AFP]

"We have made full preparations for non-stop, round-trip charters, including market investigations, crew arrangements and air services," Cai Zhizhou, an official from the China Southern Airlines said yesterday.

Further negotiations about ground services, air control and air routes are to be held with related departments in Taiwan, said Cai with the Guangzhou-based airlines in South China's Guangdong Province.

So far, which airlines will be designated to operate the charter flights is still not known. But insiders have listed Air China, China Southern, Xiamen Airlines and China Eastern as possible candidates from the mainland.

Taiwan airlines could include China Airlines, EVA Air, TransAsia Airways and Far East Air Transport Corp, Mandarin Airlines and UNI Airways Corp, according to Taiwan media reports.

If approved, China Eastern will use 300-seat Airbus A340-600 aircraft to carry passengers, said Luo Chaogeng, the airlines' president.

As a pilot with 32 years of flying experiences, Luo hopes to fly the first non-stop flight to Taiwan with his colleagues.

Zhang Huilin, an official from the Xiamen Airlines headquartered in East China's Fujian Province, said her company feels it is "a great pity" that Taiwan has refused to make Xiamen a destination -- which was included in the mainland's charter flight plan proposal.

Zhang's airlines has been negotiating with its Taiwanese counterpart TransAsia Airways over the charter flights for several years, but got no response from the Taiwan authorities.

It has won the approval to fly over Hong Kong's air traffic control area for its planned direct charter flights across the Taiwan Straits, said Zhang.

According to Zhang, the air ticket price will be around 4,000 yuan (US$480) from Beijing to Taipei and 3,000-plus yuan (US$360) from Shanghai to Taipei for the direct flights, saving one-fourth the ticket expense.

"Four hours will also be saved from the trip with the direct flight," Zhang said.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

Cross-Straits jets ready for take-off



Zhao Ziyang, 85, passes away in Beijing



'Go-west' speeds up in next five years



80 officials entangled in bank loan swindle



Japan maps plan to defend southern islands



Party issues outline to fight corruption


  Coal mine accidents kill 6,027 in China
  Zhao Ziyang, 85, passes away in Beijing
  Unpredictable year ahead for stock market
  Party issues outline to fight corruption
  Learner drivers lose easy 'licences to kill'
  Cabinet to discuss ocean early warning plan
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Non-stop flights, historic opening
Mainland, Taiwan clinch deal on direct flights
Taiwan, mainland agree to landmark direct air links
Mainland, Taipei upbeat on direct flights
Talks on charter flights to start Saturday
Cross-Straits charter flight talks proposed
Official: Non-stop charter flights attainable
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008