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Old September 24th, 2005, 03:37 AM   #181
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TAIWAN'S MAC DENIES REPORTS ON CROSS-STRAIT CHARTER FLIGHTS

TAIPEI, Sept 19 Asia Pulse - The Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) denied Friday reports that negotiations on charter cargo and passenger flights between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have come to fruition.

The reports are untrue, the MAC said in a press release.

According to the reports, Michael Lo, former head of the Taipei Airline Association (TAA) , traveled to Hong Kong several times to negotiate with Chinese representatives on the charter cargo and passenger flights, and that the government will soon announce their launch.

Cross-strait charter cargo flights will be launched first and three months later, the charter passenger flights will start, the reports claimed.

The MAC reaffirmed that it has commissioned the TAA to help the communications between the two sides on the matter and has taken into consideration China's stance, as well as the positive exchanges between the two sides.

Since the announcement by Premier Frank Hsieh Aug. 3 that discussions on both charter cargo and passenger flights can be conducted simultaneously, Taiwan has been communicating with China, the press release said.

The MAC stressed that if there are any substantive results from bilateral talks, it will inform the public immediately and it urged the media not to print mere speculation as real news.
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Old October 21st, 2005, 05:40 PM   #182
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China, Taiwan Opposition Party Agree On Direct Flights
20 October 2005

BEIJING (Dow Jones)--China's central government Thursday reached an agreement with a delegation from Taiwan's largest opposition party on allowing direct flights across the Taiwan Strait.

Flights should be based on the model of charter flights during the 2005 Chinese Lunar New Year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Thursday. That indicates passenger and cargo flights between China and Taiwan would still be required to fly through Hong Kong or Macau.

Passenger flights across the strait should be carried out during holidays, festivals, and weekends, the report said, citing the agreement.

China's government and Taiwan's Kuomintang Party, or Nationalist Party, also said they will try and push the realization of charter flights during the 2006 Lunar New Year holiday, which starts Jan. 29.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province. The island has been ruled separately since 1949. China and Taiwan allowed the first chartered passenger flights between the two sides in more than 50 years in 2003, when flights were scheduled for the Chinese New Year holiday in that year.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 01:35 PM   #183
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Taiwan's China Air gives up China Eastern stake plan

TAIPEI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd. has given up on a plan to acquire a $47 million stake in the cargo unit of China Eastern Airlines , saying both sides failed to reach a consensus, a company executive said. China Airlines had sought the stake as part of an attempt to get a foothold in China's massive air freight market, where they are at a disadvantage to other international carriers due to a ban on direct air links with Taiwan, an island China claims as part of its territory.

"This investment case was sent for approval two years ago and there was set time limit in which a deal must be reached, but no consensus could be reached on conditions sought by each side, and the agreement was void," an executive at China Air said by phone. The executive said the $47 million had been redeemed and that the cancelled investment would not affect plans to continue pursuing opportunities in China.

Beijing regards the island as a renegade province, which has been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

China Airlines, Taiwan's largest carrier, is also planning to invest 312.5 million yuan ($38.6 million ) for a 25 percent stake in Yangtze River Express, owned by Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd. .

Taiwan's Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. and Wan Hai Lines Ltd are also seeking stakes in the freight unit. The case is still pending approval by the government.

China Airlines' shares closed up 0.69 percent on Wednesday at T$14.55, versus a 1.24 percent rise on the broader index . (US$=T$33.6)
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 04:32 PM   #184
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China invites Taiwan for talks on more direct flights

TAIPEI, Nov 3 (AFP) - China has invited Taiwan to discuss the provision of further cross-strait charter flights for the Chinese New Year holidays early next year, an airline official said Thursday.

"Yes, we have received an invitation from the mainland but an official response may have to be determined by government authorities," said the staffer in the office of Tony Fan, who is chairman of TransAsia Airways.

The staffer said the invitation was addressed to Fan in his capacity as chairman of the Taipei Airlines Association. It was from Pu Zhaozhou, vice chairman of China's Cross-Strait Aviation Transport Exchange Council.

Officials at the Mainland Affairs Council, the island's decision-making body on China policy, were not immediately available for comment.

Taiwan imposed a ban on direct transport exchanges with China in 1949, when the two split after a civil war. The island's airlines must take a detour to bypass Chinese airspace en route to Europe and parts of Asia.

The ban was relaxed in 2003 when six Taiwan airlines operated eight charter flights to and from China, via Hong Kong and Macau, during the Chinese New Year holidays.

The flights were not available in 2004 due to strained ties between Taipei and Beijing.

The ban was further relaxed in February this year when the rivals launched their first non-stop passenger flights during the New Year holidays, which see thousands of people travelling to visit relatives.

But Taipei suspended talks on more such flights after Beijing in March enacted a controversial anti-secession law, providing a legal basis for an invasion of Taiwan should it push for formal independence.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #185
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Taiwan agrees to Chinese talks on more charter flights

TAIPEI, Nov 4 (AFP) - Taiwan said Friday it had agreed in principle to negotiate with China on allowing more cross-strait charter air services including the exchange of non-stop flights on lunar new year holidays early next year.

"Pushing for more charter passenger and cargo services between the two sides has been our government's policy," said David Huang, vice chairman of the cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

MAC, Taiwan's top mainland policy maker, had authorized Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) as a "contact window" for related discussions with Beijing but no concrete agreement had been finalized, he said.

China's Cross-Strait Aviation Transport Exchange Council Thursday invited the TAA to discuss the provision of charter flights for the Chinese new year holidays in January and February next year.

"There should be no problems (for such holiday charter flights in 2006) if the 2005 model is followed," Huang added.

He stressed the two sides should follow the principles of "setting aside political differences with no pre-conditions" adopted at the bilateral talks in Macau which resulted in the exchange of unprecedented of non-stop passenger charter flights during Chinese New Year holidays in February.

Taiwan imposed a ban on direct transport exchanges with China in 1949, when the two split after a civil war. The island's airlines must take a detour to bypass Chinese airspace en route to Europe and parts of Asia.

The ban was relaxed in 2003 when six Taiwan airlines operated eight charter flights to and from China, with stops in Hong Kong and Macau, during the Chinese New Year holidays.

But Taipei suspended talks on further flights after Beijing in March enacted a controversial anti-secession law, providing a legal basis for an invasion of Taiwan should it push for formal independence.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
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Old November 19th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #186
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Cross-strait flight eligibility relaxed
19 November 2005
South China Morning Post

The mainland and Taiwan have agreed to allow 72 charter flights to fly between four mainland cities and two Taiwanese cities during the next Lunar New Year holiday, mainland officials say.

Xiamen would be a new mainland destination for the charter flights in addition to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, said Pu Zhaozhou , director of the Taiwan affairs department of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China and deputy director of the mainland's Cross-Strait Aviation Transport Exchange Council.

Taipei and Kaohsiung will remain the two destinations for cross-strait flights in Taiwan.

Mr Pu said the charter flights would be operated by 12 airlines - six each from the mainland and Taiwan - between January 20 and February 13.

Apart from Taiwanese businesspeople and their families, all Taiwanese residents with valid travel documents would be allowed to take the flights, he said.

The flights would still have to be routed via Hong Kong.

He Shizhong, chief of the Department of Economy of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said the arrangement was still a far cry from direct aviation links the mainland has proposed.

"It is only a case-by-case arrangement. Mainland residents with valid documents are still excluded. The destinations are limited while the route is still via Hong Kong. It is still not the real direct flight," he said.

Liu Te-hsun, vice-chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, expressed regret that the two sides had failed to reach an agreement on cargo charters, but stressed the Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) would continue to discuss the issue with its mainland counterpart, the Chinese Aviation Association.

He said the two sides had been negotiating since August 12.

Taiwanese airline companies and mainland-based Taiwanese businesspeople yesterday applauded the new measure, recalling that this year's Lunar New Year charters were limited to businesspeople and their families.

"It is a breakthrough compared with the last service since all Taiwanese nationals can take the charter flights," said Chang Han-wen, head of the Taiwan Businessmen's Association based in Dongguan .

Taiwanese studying on the mainland said they hoped the departure points could be extended to more than four mainland cities.

TAA chairman Fan Chih-chiang, authorised by the Mainland Affairs Council to talk to Beijing officials, said the new arrangement should help boost airlines companies' bottom lines.

He said the two sides would be able to discuss an extension of departure points during the talks on cargo charters.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 01:57 AM   #187
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Six Airlines Divide up Lunar Year Cross-Strait Charter Flights

TAIPEI, Nov. 24 Asia Pulse - Six airline companies reached preliminary agreement Wednesday on the allocation of cross-strait charter flights for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, with high ticket costs forecast due to soaring oil prices.

According to a scheme simultaneously announced both by the Mainland Affair Council of Taiwan and the Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office last week, the charter flights will operate between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13 and will be similar to the formula adopted during the 2005 Chinese Lunar New Year period.

The 2006 Chinese New Year's Day falls on Jan. 29.

Airline companies declined to comment on their ticket prices, but they mentioned that oil was US$42 a barrel at the beginning of 2005, but has soared to US$58 a barrel; therefore, prices are almost certainly to be higher for the upcoming flights.

Among the four destinations by Taiwan airlines to China, 16 out of 36 flights will land in Shanghai, the most popular destination.

Xiamen comes the second-most popular destination with 10 flights, while six will go to Guangzhou and four to Beijing.

The allocation of destinations for each airline company is as follows:

- China Airlines: four flights to Shanghai, two to Beijing.

- EVA Air: two flights to Beijing, two to Shanghai and two to Guangzhou.

- Far Eastern Air Transport: four to Shanghai, two to Xiamen.

- UniAir: four to Xiamen, two to Shanghai.

- Mandarin Airlines: two to Shanghai, two to Guangzhou and two to Xiamen.

- TransAsia Airways: two to Shanghai, two to Guangzhou and two to Xiamen.

Only six flights will take off from Kaohsiung: UniAir's two flights to Xiamen, two others to Shanghai and two Mandarin Airlines flights to Xiamen. The others all depart from CKS International Airport.

The airline companies said that their schedules will be decided according to the needs of the passengers and that a flight schedule will be announced on Friday, Nov. 25.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #188
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Taiwan Airlines Can Apply This Wk For Charter Flights- PM
27 November 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--Taiwan's airlines can begin applying this week for special charter flights to China during next year's Lunar New Year holidays, Premier Frank Hsieh said over the weekend.

Hsieh made the statement during a visit to the division under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for handling the applications.

An official at the ministry said Monday instructions on how to apply would be disclosed later in the day at the earliest.

All of Taiwan's six airlines will participate in the special flights, according to a government statement given to the press Saturday.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #189
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Taiwan opposition leader calls for China transport links

TAIPEI, Dec 7 (AFP) - Taiwan's opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou called Wednesday on the government to set up direct transport links with China to sustain economic growth.

Taiwan has banned direct links since splitting from China in 1949, fearing an attack. The mainland regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited by force if necessary.

"Travelling between Taipei and Shanghai should take only 70 minutes if there were direct aviation links," said Ma, a presidential hopeful who led his Kuomintang party (KMT, or Nationalist) to a landslide win in last week's local polls.

"But now it takes visitors six to seven hours to travel between the two sides of the strait. As if the distance from Shanghai to Taipei were that of Shanghai to Jakarta. It's a tremendous waste of time."

The first non-stop direct flights over the Taiwan Strait since 1949 were carried out early this year to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

"Direct air links is a must to Taiwan being an industrial technological hub in East Asia ... when the Chinese mainland has become a factory of the world," Ma told Taipei Foreign Correspondents Club.

Despite lingering hostility between the two rivals, China has emerged as Taiwan's leading foreign investment destination, with an estimated 80 billion dollars invested over the years in various projects.

Taipei and Beijing announced on November 18 they had reached agreement on charter flights for the next Lunar New Year holiday from January 20 to February 13.

The 72 charter flights will be non-stop but will have to fly via Hong Kong airspace.

Each year millions of visits are conducted between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland which are separated by the Taiwan Strait measuring 100 miles at its widest.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #190
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Taiwan's China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines expand mileage cooperation
7 December 2005
AFX Asia

TAIPEI (XFN-ASIA) - China Airlines (2610.TW) and the mainland's China Eastern Airlines said they will expand cooperation on their mileage programs to include all scheduled flights from Jan 1.

The Taiwan carrier said in a statement frequent flyer members flying with one of the airlines in the future will have the choice of accumulating mileage under either frequent flyer program.

China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines began their mileage program cooperation in Sept 2004. Initially, all China Airlines international flights and China Eastern's Hong Kong-Shanghai and Okinawa-Shanghai flights were eligible for this cooperation program.

The cooperation expansion is expected to benefit about 7.0 mln frequent flyer members who will be able to accumulate mileage faster in exchange for free tickets and free upgrades.

Currently, China Airlines has mileage program cooperation with three major aviation groups in China, namely Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

At 10.49 am, China Airlines was unchanged at 15.65 twd.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 04:41 AM   #191
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Taiwan Govt: UNI Air Applies For China Charter Flights
6 December 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--The Taiwan government has so far received one application for charter flights between Taiwan and China during the Lunar New Year period in 2006, an official at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Tuesday.

The official, who declined to be named, said the application was from UNI Airways Corp., one of Taiwan's smaller airlines that operates services on regional routes.

The government issued guidelines Friday for airlines to apply for the charter flights, the official said.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 10, according to a copy of the guidelines seen by Dow Jones Newswires.

Six Taiwanese airlines and six mainland Chinese airlines have been allowed to provide a total of 72 round-trip charter flights between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13 under an agreement worked out by the two sides' civil aviation associations late last month.

Under a preliminary arrangement between the Taiwanese airlines and the ministry, UNI plans to provide two flights to Guangzhou, two to Shanghai and two to Xiamen during the Lunar New Year period, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said in a statement.

China Airlines Ltd. (2610.TW), Taiwan's largest airline by revenue, and its closest rival, EVA Airways Corp. (2618.TW), can each operate two charter flights to Beijing. China Airlines can also operate four flights to Shanghai, and EVA can provide two to Shanghai and two to Guangzhou.

It will be the third time Taiwan and China have allowed special charter flights for the Lunar New Year, the most important annual festival for Chinese communities.

On this occasion, any Taiwanese resident will be allowed to use the service, instead of just investors doing business in China or their relatives.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 08:09 AM   #192
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Three more Taiwanese airlines apply for holiday charter flights between Taiwan and China
13 December 2005

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - The Taiwanese government has received additional applications from local airlines to operate charter flights between Taiwan and China during the Lunar New Year period in 2006, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Tuesday.

The island's largest carrier, China Airlines Ltd., EVA Airways Corp. and Mandarin Airlines Ltd. applied to operate the charter flights, the ministry said in a statement.

UNI Airways Corp., an affiliate of EVA, put in an application last week.

Direct air links between China and Taiwan ended when the two sides split more than five decades ago, but both sides allowed charter flights in 2003 and 2005 for Taiwanese businesspeople in China wishing to return home for the Lunar New Year. For the next holiday, Taiwanese students and tourists will also be allowed to take the flights.

Taiwan opposes regular commercial flights, ostensibly for security reasons. China still claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island, and threatens to use force should Taipei move toward formal independence.

However, trade has thrived despite the political strains. Business leaders have been lobbying hard for direct flights, saying they would save time and money.

Six Taiwanese airlines and six airlines from China have been allowed to provide a total of 72 round-trip charter flights between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13 under an agreement worked out by civil aviation associations from the two sides.

The flights will link Taipei and Kaohsiung on the island with the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Xiamen, which all have large populations of Taiwanese business executives.

The two other Taiwanese airlines that are also expected to apply to operate services are Transasia Airways Corp. and Far Eastern Air Transport Corp.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 10, according to guidelines published by the ministry.

Under current arrangements, China Airlines and EVA Airways can each operate two round trips to Beijing from Taipei.

China Airlines can operate four round trips on the Taipei-Shanghai route, and EVA two round trips.
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Old December 14th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #193
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Tuesday December 13, 11:30 AM
China-Taiwan flights to feature Hello Kitty

(Kyodo) An Eva Airways plane with giant Hello Kitty images painted on its body will fly a normally forbidden direct route to China for the Lunar New Year, a spokesman for the Taiwan-based airline said Tuesday.

An Airbus 330-220 will land in Beijing on the afternoon of Jan. 27 with seven Hello Kitty caricatures on the cabin, one on the engine and more inside the aircraft, said company spokesman Liang Wenrong in Beijing.

Flight attendants wear Sanrio-style attire and serve meals with hints of Hello Kitty, the company spokesman said. Boarding passes and luggage tags also will carry the Japanese cartoon images, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Monday.

"We want to come to Beijing in a special way, nothing too boring," Liang said. "It's a kind of promotion."

In October Eva Airways signed an advertising contract with Sanrio Co., he said. The airline said in a statement that Hello Kitty promotes "creativity" and "innovation" in the company.

The cat-festooned plane began daily Taipei-Fukuoka flights in late October, the statement says. Liang said the plane also flies from Taipei to Tokyo.

The Eva Airways flight is one of 36 from Taiwan due to touch down in four Chinese cities during the Jan. 20-Feb. 13 Lunar New Year period next year. Chinese airlines will also send 36 flights.

For the second straight year, China and the self-ruled island that China sees as part of its territory agreed to exchange direct flights without security stops to help mainland-based Taiwan business people return home.

Direct flights are normally prohibited as political tensions remain high.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 02:34 AM   #194
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Mainland well prepared for cross-Strait charter flights: spokesman
14 December 2005
Xinhua's China Economic Information Service

BEIJING, December 14 (CEIS) -- Airlines on China's mainland will provide the country's best aircraft to serve passengers flying to and from Taiwan during the upcoming Spring Festival, said a senior Chinese official here on December 14.

Detailed service plans are being made to provide warm and considerate service to Taiwan passengers on the charter flights, said Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council at his regularly scheduled news conference.

Authorities have approved six mainland airlines to provide charter flights during the 2006 lunar new year. Four Taiwan-based airlines have been granted the right to fly to the mainland during the busiest travel season in Asia, he said.

The best aircraft and crews will serve passengers and ticket reservations have been made more convenient. Special boarding services and emergency plans have also been prepared.

The mainland hopes the flights to Taiwan for passengers and freight will following the model of the 2005 Spring Festival charter flights, said Li.

The special Spring Festival charter flights between Taiwan and the Chinese are scheduled from Jan. 20 to Feb. 13 next year.

Along with Taiwan business people and their families, Taiwan residents holding appropriate travel documents will be allowed to take the flights. These conditions are part of an agreement reached by the civil aviation associations in Taiwan and the mainland.

In all there will be 72 round trip flights between Taiwan and the mainland with airlines in each region providing half the flights.

Flights to the mainland will land in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and for the first time Xiamen. The charter flights will also service Taipei and Kaohsiung.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 06:55 AM   #195
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Taiwan Aims For Cargo Talks With China After Lunar New Yr
14 December 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--Taiwan hopes to have talks with China on air cargo charter services after the Lunar New Year holiday, the island's top mainland policymaker said Thursday.

The comment by Joseph Wu, the chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, came as the two sides prepare for passenger charter flights during the Lunar New Year holiday.

In Taiwan, the Chinese New Year holiday runs from Jan. 28 through Feb. 2.

'We hope the (political) atmosphere after passenger charter flights during the Chinese New Year will be more conducive for talks,' Wu said.
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Old December 17th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #196
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國航兩岸包機改用奧運號
12月 10日 星期六 11:25 更新
明報

中國國際航空公司為了避免機身上五星紅旗引起爭議,改用北京奧運彩繪飛機執行兩岸春節包機任務。

台灣中央社稱,國航作為2008年北京奧運的贊助商,改租子公司數架彩繪奧運圖案的飛機。屆時會向乘客贈送奧運吉祥物、奧運紀念品等小禮物。之前,國航數次否認改用奧運號執行春節包機。

《北京晨報》報道,春節包機首班機將於2006年1月25日上午9時發出,是中國大陸最早的一班兩岸包機。至於收費方面,國航從北京起飛至台北的經濟艙單程價為3100元,往返價為4800元,兩者都含各種稅費,05年的機票平均價低於3000元。
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Old December 21st, 2005, 07:02 PM   #197
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Taiwan Pilots Join Mainland Airline
By Huang Zhiling
21 December 2005
China Daily

CHENGDU: An Airbus A321 landing in the Capital International Airport in Beijing made history yesterday morning.

The flight from Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, contained a pilot from Taiwan, Zhang Lu-zhen, who was among a small group from the island province that started work yesterday.

Sichuan Airlines, which is employing the group of eight, is the first on the mainland to enrol pilots from the island

province, Gu Bing, deputy chief of the Publicity Department of Sichuan Airlines, told China Daily.

Of the eight pilots, who have signed contracts of three to six years, five have passed tests and received temporary flying licences from the Southwest Branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). They are now applying for formal

licences from the CAAC, which normally takes about two weeks.

A temporary licence is valid for four months. The other three pilots are going through formalities to apply for their temporary licences.

The five pilots who have been granted temporary licences are all about 40 years old, each with more than 15 years experience, notching up flight hours ranging from 5,000 to 10,000.

The mainland, which has the world's fastest growing aviation market, has a strong pull for pilots in Taiwan, according to Yan Jun, former chief of the Taiwan Civil Aviation Pilots Association.

A survey conducted by the organization revealed nearly all of those questioned expressed a willingness to work on the mainland, he said.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 05:34 AM   #198
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Taiwan Official: China Air Links Vote Not Ruled Out
6 January 2006

Dow Jones - Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, the ruling party, has repeatedly said the public is divided on whether they are in favor of direct air links with China.

Taiwan and China split in a civil war in 1949 and have had no official contacts since then, despite their growing trade activity.

Wu said in a press conference Friday that negotiations between the governments on both sides would also be needed for normalized cross-strait air links.

'Direct links won't happen just because we want them,' Wu said. 'If (the Chinese government) doesn't want to talk, there will be no direct links.'

Although Taiwan bans direct transport links with China, it allowed direct charter flights to and from China for Taiwanese businessmen and their relatives during the 2003 and 2005 Chinese New Year holidays.

The two sides also agreed to allow direct charter flights for all Taiwanese, for the first time, during the coming New Year holiday between Jan. 20 and Feb. 13.

Under an agreement reached between the two sides Nov. 18, six Taiwanese airlines and six mainland Chinese airlines are allowed to provide a total of 72 round-trip charter flights between Taiwan and China during the holiday.

As in 2003 and 2005, however, the charter flights are required to fly through Hong Kong's air space.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 07:17 AM   #199
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Mainland official calls for regular cross-Straits chartered flights
6 January 2006
Xinhua's China Economic Information Service

BEIJING, January 6 (CEIS) -- A Chinese mainland official on January 6 called for regular chartered flights and direct flights between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference that it is very difficult to get tickets of the cross-Straits chartered flights during the forthcoming Spring Festival.

The demand from Taiwan compatriots living in the mainland cannot be met. Regular chartered flights and direct flights should be realized to offer convenience for Taiwan compatriots in the mainland, Li said.

He said the mainland will provide good services for the Spring Festival chartered flights, and push forward the realization of regular chartered flights and direct flights.

Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important occasion for family reunions. The Spring Festival in 2006 will start on Jan. 29.

Six mainland airline companies have been chosen to operate chartered flights across the Taiwan Straits from Jan. 20 to Feb. 13 of 2006, while six Taiwan-based airlines have announced their plans for direct chartered flights across the Taiwan Straits during the Spring Festival.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 03:43 AM   #200
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Taiwan's China Air Completes 25% Buy Of Yangtze River
12 January 2006

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--China Airlines Ltd. (2610.TW) completed its acquisition of a 25% stake in Chinese regional air cargo carrier, Yangtze River Express Airlines, the company said in a statement Thursday.

China Airlines, Taiwan's largest airline by revenue, didn't provide the transaction's value in the statement, but in a previous filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the deal was valued at CNY312.5 million (US$38.7 million).

Two Taiwan shipping companies, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. (2609.TW) and Wan Hai Lines (2615.TW), joined China Airlines in the deal.

Yang Ming Marine secured a 12% stake and Wan Hai Lines bought 6%.

Liberia-registered China Container Express Lines also bought a 6% stake, according to the statement, raising the total stake acquired in the Shanghai-based cargo carrier to 49%.

Through the deal, China Airlines aims to secure revenue from China's rapidly expanding air cargo market, projected by Boeing Co. (BA) to grow at an annual rate of 10% in the next 20 years.

"Eastern China is a major source of this cargo growth, and Shanghai, as the region's gateway, accounts for 45% of China's air cargo traffic," China Airlines said.

KGI Securities analyst Marc Wang said in December that securing 5% of eastern China's cargo market would increase an airline's annual revenue by NT$8 billion.

China Airlines' revenue in 2005 was NT$108.69 billion.
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