June 25, 2008

China Completes Preparations for Launching Cross-Strait Chart Flights – TAO

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua: "Chinese Mainland Completes Preparations for Cross- Strait Weekend Chartered Flights"]

BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) - Chinese mainland has completed preparations for the formal launch of cross-Strait chartered flights on weekends starting from July 4, a mainland spokeswoman said here on Wednesday.

The six mainland carriers have completed preparations for the chartered flights, including Air China, China Eastern Airline, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Shanghai Airlines, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council spokeswoman Fan Liqing said.

Every weekend, Air China, China Eastern Airline and China Southern will operate four return flights each and the remaining three air companies will operate two return flights each, according to Fan.

Besides Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, Fan said Nanjing is the newly added destination for chartered flights, where a launching ceremony for the chartered flights will be held.

The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Chen Yunlin and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Chiang Pin-kun signed two agreements on flights and tourism on June 13 after the organizations resumed talks after nine years.

The two sides agreed on starting weekend chartered flights across the Strait from July 4. So far, the service is only in operation during four major Chinese festivals.

The two sides also agreed a maximum of 3,000 mainland tourists can travel to Taiwan every day in line with Taiwan's accommodation capacity.

Fan said around 600 tourists from Beijing, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Shanghai will travel to Taiwan on July 4 as the first groups of tourists to Taiwan after the signing of the agreement.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0609 25 Jun 08.

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