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Cross-strait flights gaining popularity

Cross-strait flights gaining popularity

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) Cross-Taiwan Strait flights have gained greater popularity, with the average passenger load of Taiwan-based carriers hitting 88.6 percent last week, while the average for China-based airlines reached 76 percent.
Apart from passengers who are Taiwan businessmen working in China, aviation industry sources said Chinese tourists coming to Taiwan on tour groups also accounted for a large share of the business.
The sources attributed the development to the launching of daily charter flights between Taiwan and China last December and to the increased exchanges amid improving two-way ties since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in May 2008.
To cope with the increasing popularity of the flights, China Airlines, Taiwan's largest carrier, has dispatched more large airplanes to serve cross-strait flights, while EVA Airways, Taiwan's second-largest carrier, has decided to resume its connection flights between the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in the north and the Kaohsiung International Airport in the south in response to the demand from southern Taiwan's passengers.
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lee Lung-wen said Taiwan's aviation companies have asked for government permission to increase the number of cross-strait flights, hopefully by July, before regularly scheduled commercial cross-strait flights are launched. Five Taiwan-based carriers and seven China-based aviation companies operated nonstop charters during the first week of the non-stop charter service, which kicked off on Dec. 15, 2008. The five Taiwanese carriers had an average passenger load factor of 73.8 percent, ahead of the seven Chinese airlines's average of 72.6 percent.
Taiwanese carriers provided round-trip flights to 13 destinations in China during the first week of operations, while their Chinese counterparts flew to four destinations in Taiwan. The two sides operated a total of 108 charter flights per week.
Meanwhile, the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan has also been on the rise.
Janice Lai, director-general of the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, predicted earlier this month that the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Taiwan will likely hit 1,500 per day in the coming weeks, rising from a daily average of 1,200 Chinese tourists during the period from Feb. 27 to March 5.
In August 2008, Chinese tourist arrivals totaled 8,900 and the number rose to 19,000 for the whole of January this year, including 11,058 during the week-long Lunar New Year holidays in late January this year. The number stood at 16,000 for February -- traditionally a low period for cross-strait tourism.
Lai said it is necessary to negotiate with China to arrange more daily charter flights across the strait to brace for more Chinese visitors.
(By Flor Wang)




Updated : 2021-10-19 04:17 GMT+08:00