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More chartered flights during Lunar New Year

Aviation authorities of the mainland and Taiwan agreed to allow more chartered passenger flights to operate across the Taiwan Strait during the forthcoming traditional Lunar New Year holidays, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).


So far, 13 airline companies from the two sides have applied for additional flights during the Spring Festival, which falls on January 26 this year.


Eight mainland airline companies would be allowed to run 61 temporary chartered passenger flights during a 29 day-long period, from January 12 to February 9. Five Taiwan operators will add 68 flights in the same period.


In mid-December last year, mainland and Taiwan airline companies began operating chartered flights on a regular basis, thanks to a historic breakthrough achieved by the two sides. It lifted a decades-old ban on direct links in trade, mail and transport.


More passenger flights are needed for the Spring Festival holidays as there will be a large number of people traveling across the strait for family reunions under Chinese tradition.


Aviation links across the strait were cut in 1949, when the then Kuomintang Regime withdrew to Taiwan, after its troops were defeated by the Communist Party of China (CPC)-led armed forces. Since the 1980s, the mainland had repeatedly called for resuming direct links across the strait.


Chartered passenger flights across the strait started in 2003, but the two sides had to hold talks every year to decide on next year's flight schedule.


The opening of direct aviation operations will largely shorten the distance of the cross-strait journey and save money for people traveling across the strait.


(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2009)