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Regular cross-Strait direct flights start on August 31
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16:59, August 31, 2009

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Chinese mainland civil aviation authorities have granted licenses to 16 airlines in both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to operate regular passenger and freight flight routes, reporters learned from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) website on August 30. Regular cross-Strait flights will officially start on August 31, when aircraft will fly between 16 destinations in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan for the first time. The number of weekly roundtrip cross-Strait flights will increase from 108 from the previous charter flight period to 270, entering a regular period.

According to the cross-Strait supplementary air transport agreement, 27 destinations in the Chinese mainland are permitted to operate regular flights. With the exception of flights from Fuzhou and Nanchang to Taipei SonShan Airport, which will continue charter flight operations, the remaining 25 cities will operate regular flights to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Taiwan airlines will open regular flights in Taiwan's Taoyuan and Kaohsiung, traveling between Taoyuan and 19 destinations in the Chinese mainland, and between Kaohsiung and seven destinations in the Chinese mainland including Beijing.

Taichung and Taipei's Songshan airports will operate chartered flights to the Chinese mainland, including chartered flights between Taichung and five Chinese mainland destinations including Hangzhou and flights between Taipei's Songshan and eight Chinese mainland destinations including Xiamen.

At this stage there will be a total of 32 regular flight routes between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, including 14 chartered flight routes (without repeat calculations). Nine mainland passenger airlines and two cargo airlines will operate 135 weekly cross-Strait regular passenger flights and 14 regular cargo flights between 27 destinations. Among these, eight will be operated exclusively by one airline and the remainder will be operated by at least two airlines.

In addition, regular flights from 16 destinations including Beijing and Shanghai will start on August 31. Regular flights from a further nine cities will begin successively between September 1 and September 5. Some industry insiders said that flight ticket prices will drop as more airlines will operate cross-Strait flights and the frequency of flights will increase.

By People's Daily Online

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