China airport eyes tie-up with Taiwan airlines


BEIJING — China’s Xiamen International Airport Group Co. Ltd. said Friday it was eyeing partnerships with Taiwan carriers amid hopes the two sides would soon establish regular weekly flights. The airport, located in southeast China’s Fujian province just across from Taiwan, is looking at various options, including transforming itself into an air cargo hub for flights to Taiwan, an executive told AFP.

It has not yet entered into concrete negotiations with air companies from Taiwan, said the executive, who declined to be named.

He said the state-owned airport group was well positioned for closer cooperation with Taiwanese carriers as it had been taking chartered flights between Taiwan and the mainland for years.

The incoming government of Taiwan president-elect Ma Ying-jeou is eyeing July 4 for the start of the first regular direct charter flights between China and Taiwan since they split.

Currently, only holiday services are allowed on passenger charter flights, and cargo flights are conducted on a case-by-case basis.

Ma won March presidential elections in Taiwan partly on a promise to improve ties with China.

The two sides have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing has never given up on reunification, saying it remains an objective, even if it means war.