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Mainland airliners urge `fair chance'
( 2003-11-14 21:15) (China Daily)

Taiwan authorities should allow direct chartered flights across the Straits during the coming Spring Festival, the most important traditional festival in China, the government's aviation administrator said on Friday.

The Chinese Government has always supported more convenient cross-Straits transport services for Taiwanese business people on the mainland who want to visit their families. It would facilitate any efforts to bring about such links, said Pu Zhaozhou, director of CAAC's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao affairs office.

Although mainland airlines wanted to participate in cross-Straits chartered flights, they were not able to last Spring Festival. But they still showed their sincerity and goodwill by providing technical support for the Taiwanese airlines allowed to run chartered flights.

Pu pointed out that last year's cross-Straits chartered flights were unilateral and indirect because of unreasonable restrictions imposed by the Taiwan authorities. Many Taiwanese businessmen complained the indirect flights were wasting time and increasing costs.

As the 2004 Spring Festival will fall in late January, mainland airlines have again expressed their hopes of a fair chance to participate in the cross-Straits chartered flights.

Although the Taiwan authorities proposed some "new'' ideas, they were in reality based on unilateral and indirect links. Mainland airlines would still be limited in their participation in cross-Straits chartered flights, said Pu.

"We hope the Taiwan authorities will not create barriers and will not impose unrealistic and unfair preconditions to co-operation between the two sides,'' said Pu.

During the traditional Spring Festival period in early 2003, six Taiwan-based airlines ran 16 cross-Straits chartered flights between Taipei, Kaohsiung and Shanghai, transporting Taiwanese business people to and from the mainland.

It was the first time since the founding of New China in 1949 that Taiwanese civilian airplanes flew to the Chinese mainland. However, the Taiwan authorities required the flights to stop over in Hong Kong or Macao on their way to or from Shanghai, and no airlines from the Chinese mainland were involved.

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