The Chinese mainland hopes to establish weekend and regular charter flights between the mainland and Taiwan as soon as possible, in addition to the charter flights offered during major festivals, a mainland official said.
Yang Yi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference on Wednesday, "Only if the weekend and regular cross-Strait charter flights are realized at an early date, can the flying bring genuine convenience, benefit and efficiency to people and airline companies on both sides."
Five mainland airline companies and six Taiwan companies made 21 round-trip flights around the Dragon Boat Festival, lasting from June 15 to June 22, according to Yang.
The first non-stop charter flights across the Taiwan Strait were launched during the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2005. Prior to that, there had not been direct air links across the Taiwan Strait for more than five decades.
On June 14, 2006, the mainland-based Cross-Strait Aviation Transport Exchange Council and the Taipei Airlines Association agreed to open charter flights for other traditional festivals, including Tomb-sweeping Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-autumn Festival.
Yang said both people in the airline industry and ordinary citizens across the Strait believe charter flights at festival times were not enough and expressed their hope that charter flights would soon become regular.
The spokesman also called for the resumption of negotiations on mainland tourists' visits to Taiwan on Wednesday and blamed the Taiwan authorities for putting obstacles against opening Taiwan-bound tourist routes to mainland residents.