Mainland airspace open to Taiwan airlines
Two Taiwan carriers yesterday flew through the mainland's airspace, marking the official start of regular flights of Taiwan airlines through the mainland's territory, aimed at reducing flying time and cut fuel costs.
EVA Airways flight B-16412, carrying 368 passengers from Taipei to Paris, became the first beneficiary of the new policy when it flew over the mainland in the early hours yesterday. The flying time has been shortened by 10 minutes because of the new route.
The second flight was China Airlines flight CI 245 from Taipei to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
It is not the first time the two airlines have flown through mainland airspace. During the Iraq War in 2003, China Airlines and EVA Airways were permitted to do so rather than flying through the Middle East.
However this time the flying is no longer a makeshift arrangement, but rather a regular practice.
China Airlines and EVA Airways are among four Taiwanese carriers that got CAAC approval on September 2. The other two are UNI Airways and Mandarin Airlines.
According to sources with CAAC, EVA Airways has 40 flights per week that can fly through the mainland's airspace. China Airlines got approval for 70 flights, UNI eight flights and Mandarin Airlines six.
Taiwanese airlines previously avoided mainland airspace on flights to Europe and South Asia by passing either north over Russia or south over Southeast Asia.
Taipei has banned its carriers from flying over the mainland since 1949 because of stated security concerns.