Taiwan, China agree to increase holiday flights

By Ted Chen ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Following a three-day conference, representatives from both sides of the Taiwan Strait yesterday reached an agreement to increase the number of flights during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, with plans to expand the number of routine direct flights to 828 per week in the near future.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (交通部), aviation authorities in Taiwan and China agreed to lift restrictions on the number of flights during the Chinese New Year holiday rush set to take place from Jan. 17 to Feb. 14 next year. Reports, however, indicate that the number of flights into China’s main hub airports will still be limited to avoid congestion.

The number of destinations in China to which flights were added include 105 flights to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, seven flights to Beijing, 11 flights to Guanzhou, 10 flights to Shenzhen, and 47 flights to Hangzhou. Most notably, flights to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport for next year’s holiday season were increased by 50 from the previous period. Cross-strait counterparts also agreed that while the number of flights from Taipei Songshan Airport to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport will not be increased, inbound flights from China slated to arrive at Taipei Songshan Airport may now land and depart from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Civil aviation authorities on both sides of the strait also agreed to increase the number of weekly direct flights from 670 to 828, with each counterpart consenting to an addition of 79 flights per week. The additional flights, however, will only service the 22 airports in China that are not limited by “time slot” air traffic control measures.

In addition, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (民航局) stated that in an effort to promote cross-strait tourism, airlines on both sides of the strait will continue to run up to 30 unscheduled chartered flights per day, depending on consumer demand. Taichung was also added to destinations included in the aforementioned scheme, said the administration.