Airlines from China and Taiwan are today launching temporary non-stop charter services between the two sides following an agreement reached earlier this year to allow such services during four major holiday periods.

From today six airlines from each side will be able to operate non-stop passenger flights during the so-called mid-autumn festival holiday period.

A total of 48 round-trip flights will be operated by the 12 airlines until the second week of October, between the Taiwanese capital Taipei and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen.

The six Chinese airlines permitted to operate the services are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. The Taiwanese airlines are China Airlines, EVA Air, Far Eastern Air Transport, Mandarin Airlines, TransAsia Airways and UNI Airways.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and non-stop flights have been banned since 1949, forcing air passengers and cargo to transit through a third point, normally Hong Kong or Macau.

In recent years one-off agreements have been negotiated to allow flights during the Chinese New Year holiday period, which generally falls in January or February. In June, however, China and Taiwan agreed to allow their airlines to operate regular passenger chargers during four major holiday periods, the first of which falls next week.