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Non-stop cross-Straits flight touches down
By admin on 2014-12-02

The first Lunar New Year flight between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan landed in Shanghai Friday morning, kicking off the now annual frenzy of passengers taking advantage of the holidays to fly directly across the Straits.

Passengers from Taiwan are all smile when they arrive in Shanghai January 20, 2006, lifting the curtain of Spring Festival chartered flights between Taiwan and the mainland.  [newsphoto]

The fully booked China Airlines charter flight landed at Shanghai's Pudong Airport at 10:34 am (0234 GMT) after departing Taipei two-and-a-half hours earlier.

"It landed smoothly and ahead of schedule," said Xu Liye, a China Air manager in Shanghai. A return charter flight is scheduled to leave Shanghai around midday.

This is the third year that charter flights have operated between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan for the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 29 this year.

Six mainland and six Taiwan airlines will offer services until mid-February connecting Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan with the mainland's Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Xiamen.

The 12 companies will operate 72 flights this year, compared with 48 flights in 2005.

Compared with 2003 and 2005, the charter flights this year will not only serve Taiwan businessmen and their relatives on the mainland, but all Taiwan residents bearing valid travel documents across the Straits.

According to incomplete statistics, more than 300,000 Taiwan people working, studying or living in the Chinese mainland travel back to the island during the holiday season of the Chinese lunar New Year every year.

Industry sources expect the number of passengers who choose the charter flights this year would grow 50 percent from last year.

Taiwan normally bans direct transport links with the mainland, only allowing exchanges with stops in third ports.

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