Top negotiators from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan on Sunday signed an agreement on opening regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait and expanding air routes and terminals.
Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), agreed to start a direct southern air route linking Guangzhou and Taipei, and open another northern route in addition to the same one between Shanghai and Taipei.
They also agreed to add six mainland cities as regular direct passenger flight terminals, making the total to 27. The newly added cities are Hefei, Harbin, Nanchang, Guiyang, Ningbo and Jinan.
Two Taiwan's passenger terminals, Taipei Taoyuan airport and Kaohsiung airport, are entitled to operate regular passenger flights. And six other airports in Taiwan can operate chartered passenger flights.
The weekly number of cross-Strait passenger return flights, both regular and chartered, will increase from the existing 108 to 270.
There would be 28 cargo return flights across the Taiwan Strait each week, including regular flights and chartered ones, according to the agreement.
The two sides also agreed that airline companies should report their regular flight prices to air transport supervisory bodies, the agreement stated.
Air transport supervisors of both sides would set up a liaison mechanism to exchange information, in a timely manner, on "relevant issues" about cross-Strait air transport, the agreement said.
This is another huge step forward in cross-Strait relations. Since last June, the two bodies have signed six agreement on weekend charter flights, tourism, direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety.