Taiwanese and Mainland carriers to launch direct services following cross-straits agreement

Chinese carriers, both Mainland and Taiwanese, are readying themselves for the launch of commercial charter flights across the Taiwan Strait, following the signing of an agreement between the Strait Exchange Foundation (Taipei) and the Assn. for relations across the Taiwan Strait (Beijing)  in Beijing.

Services are expected to start 4 July.

The deal allows for 18 direct flights across the strait each weekend (including Fridays). Through the agreement, Taiwanese carriers will have access to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing with future flights to Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Dalian, Guilin and Shenzhen. In turn, Mainland carriers will fly to Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Matsuyama, Penghu, Hualien, Kinmen and Taitung.

The agreement also calls for negotiations on regularly scheduled direct flights to start "as soon as possible."

Both sides have also agreed to discuss cargo charter services.

Currently, passengers travelling between the mainland and Taiwan are compelled to stop over in Hong Kong, adding between 4-5 hours to the trip. The cross-straits agreement is also expected to help carriers on both sides reduce operating costs and expand markets.