A dispute between South Korea and Taiwan that has barred their airlines from operating between the two countries for more than 10 years is nearing a resolution, with the governments approving two months of regular charter flights.

Industry observers say the regulatory backing for services by Korean Air (KAL) and Taiwan's TransAsia Airways is significant, and flights may be allowed to continue past February when the approval period expires. Informal talks to end the dispute have been held in recent years, but without progress until now.

KAL is due to operate thrice-weekly Seoul-Taipei charter flights with Boeing 737-800s until 21 February, while TransAsia Airways will operate four times weekly between Taipei and Yangyang until 18 February using Airbus A321s.

Passenger services by national carriers between South Korea and Taiwan were halted in 1992 after Seoul switched its diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei and an air services agreement was scrapped. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and Seoul's move angered Taipei.

Source: Flight International