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Taiwanese, Chinese carriers deepen cross-straits ties

Four SkyTeam airlines have launched a new programme to strengthen their ties on services between China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Taiwan's China Airlines and Chinese carriers China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines have launched the Greater China Connection programme, in which the airlines will jointly develop marketing and product strategies for travellers throughout greater China.

The programme will give members of each carrier's frequent flyer programmes mutual privileges and lounge access, while the combination of codeshares across the four carriers will allow passengers more flexibility, say the airlines.

They add that the programme will extend across 41 airports and include more than 270 cross-strait flights per week.

The programme will enhance the positions of the four carriers in the important cross-strait market, which has grown considerably since first direct flights between China and Taiwan started in 2009 on the back of strong business and leisure traffic.

In December 2012, the two countries were scheduled to hold talks that are expected to lead to an increased number of flights across the straits.

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