Regular non-stop passenger flights between China and rival Taiwan have begun, nearly 60 years after the two sides split following a civil war.
The first flight to China was a China Airlines service from Taipei’s Taoyuan airport to Shanghai, while the first to Taiwan was a China Southern Airlines service from Guangzhou to Taipei Taoyuan.
From today six Chinese airlines and five Taiwanese airlines will be operating regularly between the two sides, with flights permitted from Friday through Monday each week.
Today’s launch of regular flights follows a groundbreaking agreement that was reached last month. Regular non-stop flights had been banned since 1949, when the two sides split following a civil war, forcing passengers to travel between the two sides via a third point, normally Hong Kong or Macau.
Under the agreement, airlines from each side are allowed to operate 18 round-trip flights between Fridays and Mondays, between five Chinese cities and eight Taiwanese ports. Government officials from the two sides have indicated that the number of permitted flights may increase later this year.
Under an agreement reached two years ago, flights have been allowed over four annual holiday periods but these have been limited. The agreement to allow regular flights over four days of each week came just weeks after a new government took power in Taiwan with a promise to improve relations with China.
Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news
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