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|September 10th, 2004, 06:29 PM||#11|
More excitment ahead!!!
Join Date: Jun 2003
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SEPT 10, 2004
Taiwanese, Chinese airlines sign first mileage agreement
TAIPEI - Taiwan's largest carrier and the mainland's China Eastern Airlines said on Friday they will begin sharing mileage programs beginning Oct 1 in the first such deal between airlines across the Taiwan Strait.
The arrangement will allow passengers flying Taiwan's China Airlines to continue accumulating frequent flier miles after they change planes and fly China Eastern to the mainland, the Taiwanese carrier said in a statement.
The two carriers cannot fly directly between Taiwan and China because the government here has banned such flights after the rivals split amid civil war in 1949. Most travellers stop in Hong Kong or Macau and change airlines before flying on to Taiwan or China.
China Airlines said it offers a total 105 weekly flights to Hong Kong from Taiwan's two biggest cities: Taipei and Kaohsiung.
'At the first stage, all China Airlines international flights and sectors of China Eastern's Hong Kong-Shanghai and Okinawa-Shanghai flights will be eligible for this cooperation programme,' the Taiwanese carrier said.
'In the future, both airlines will expand the cooperation network,' the company said. 'China Airlines is also negotiating mileage program cooperation with other Chinese carriers.'
Long-standing political disputes have blocked Taiwan and China from signing a pact that would allow direct flights. Taiwan's government has been under increasing pressure from a growing number of Taiwanese businesses that have invested heavily in China to open up direct transport links.
Taiwan's government has estimated that Taiwanese make more than 3 million trips to China each year.
The government has said opening direct flights would reduce passengers' travel costs by about NT$13.2 billion (US$388.2 million) per year and reduce their travel time by 8.6 million hours. -- AP
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