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Old June 25th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #261
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Air China says historic first regular flights between Beijing and Taiwan to begin July 4
24 June 2008

BEIJING (AP) - The first regularly scheduled flights in six decades linking China's mainland with Taiwan will begin July 4, state-owned Air China said Tuesday.

The flights are part of a warming in relations between China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 amid civil war. The communist mainland claims the island as part of its territory and has threatened to attack.

The weekend flights will link Beijing with Taiwan's capital, Taipei, and southern port of Kaohsiung, Air China said.

"This new bridge between Taipei, Kaohsiung and Beijing will help enhance Chinas cultural and commercial ties," an Air China spokesman, Zhang Chunzhi, said in a statement. Taiwan barred direct travel for decades as a security measure but has allowed charter flights on Chinese holidays in recent years.

Pressure for direct flights came from Taiwanese businesspeople who have invested heavily in the mainland. They complained about the cost and inconvenience of having to travel to China via Hong Kong and other third points.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who took office on May 20, promised to improve ties with China. Relations were strained for eight years during the administration of Ma's predecessor, Chen Shui-bian. Beijing accused Chen of plotting to make Taiwan's de facto independence permanent.

Beijing and Taipei have no formal relations.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's China Airlines and China Southern Airlines said they will cooperate on direct charter flights between Taiwan and China, also beginning July 4.

The two carriers will represent each other in passenger, cargo, maintenance and ground handling operations, China Airlines said in a statement.

China Southern, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, said it would support China Airlines' efforts to join SkyTeam, a group of major airlines.

China Airlines and a subsidiary, Mandarin Airlines, plan to operate 29 weekend charter flights next month linking Taiwan with the mainland cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, the carriers said.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 05:17 AM   #262
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Cathay Pacific cuts flight fares to vie for more transit passengers
21 June 2008
The China Post

As Macau and Hong Kong served as a stopover for flights to both sides of the Taiwan Strait before, the upcoming weekend direct charter flights may cause Cathay Pacific Airways and other airlines operating flights to both Taiwan and mainland China to suffer drainage of transit passengers, the sources said.

To counter, Cathay Pacific has cut the Hong Kong-Xiamen flight fare to NT$7,150 from NT$8,940 during the summer vacation period, for a cut of NT$1,800. After the reduction, the fare is almost the same as that for direct charter flights.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific has also reportedly slashed its ticket fares for flights to Shanghai and Beijing from Hong Kong by over NT$1,000, and the fares for flights to Ningbo, Hangzhou, and Chengdu will also be cut starting from the summer vacation through the end of October.

In addition, passengers joining the five-day free trip to Shanghai operated by Star Travel only have to pay NT$8,999 in flight ticket fare if they fly Cathay Pacific and then transit by Dragon Air.

Huang Sheng-cheng, president of Star Travel, said that such airlines as Macau Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragon Air) have offered a discount of at least NT$1,000 on the fares for flights to Guilin, Shanghai and Beijing, which are popular destinations for direct charter flights across the Taiwan Straits on weekends.

Take the five-day Quilin trip for example. The ticket fare charged by Macau Airlines has been sharply cut by NT$4,000 to NT$13,900 from the previous level of NT$17,900.

Huang said that as the number of upcoming direct flights across the Taiwan Strait remains limited, quite a few airlines are still taking a wait-and-see attitude toward whether to reducing their flight ticket prices and will keep their existing prices unchanged till July 15.

Statistics compiled by Hong Kong travel authorities showed that there are around 1.5 million Taiwanese passengers transit at Hong Kong before flying to mainland Chinese cities. After the direct flights take effect, Hong Kong will suffer a revenue decline of around HK$300 million year, based on the average spending of HK$200 per passenger.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 07:51 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Air China says historic first regular flights between Beijing and Taiwan to begin July 4
24 June 2008

BEIJING (AP) - The first regularly scheduled flights in six decades linking China's mainland with Taiwan will begin July 4, state-owned Air China said Tuesday.

The flights are part of a warming in relations between China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 amid civil war. The communist mainland claims the island as part of its territory and has threatened to attack.

The weekend flights will link Beijing with Taiwan's capital, Taipei, and southern port of Kaohsiung, Air China said.

"This new bridge between Taipei, Kaohsiung and Beijing will help enhance Chinas cultural and commercial ties," an Air China spokesman, Zhang Chunzhi, said in a statement. Taiwan barred direct travel for decades as a security measure but has allowed charter flights on Chinese holidays in recent years.

Pressure for direct flights came from Taiwanese businesspeople who have invested heavily in the mainland. They complained about the cost and inconvenience of having to travel to China via Hong Kong and other third points.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who took office on May 20, promised to improve ties with China. Relations were strained for eight years during the administration of Ma's predecessor, Chen Shui-bian. Beijing accused Chen of plotting to make Taiwan's de facto independence permanent.

Beijing and Taipei have no formal relations.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's China Airlines and China Southern Airlines said they will cooperate on direct charter flights between Taiwan and China, also beginning July 4.

The two carriers will represent each other in passenger, cargo, maintenance and ground handling operations, China Airlines said in a statement.

China Southern, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, said it would support China Airlines' efforts to join SkyTeam, a group of major airlines.

China Airlines and a subsidiary, Mandarin Airlines, plan to operate 29 weekend charter flights next month linking Taiwan with the mainland cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, the carriers said.
Histrorical Moment for both Mainland China and Taiwan!

Xinhua News:
First cross-Strait weekend chartered flight takes off with mainland tourists

First weekend charter flight from Taiwan arrives in Shanghai
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Old July 8th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #264
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Xinhua News:
Airlines gear up for new weekend service across Taiwan Strait
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Old July 12th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #265
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Author's photo collection : http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=19728
2008-7-4



















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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:59 AM   #266
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Xinhua News:
Airlines seek weekday cross-Strait flights after weekend success
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:27 AM   #267
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Top cross-strait negotiator to visit Taiwan for summit talks
11 September 2008
South China Morning Post

Beijing's top cross-strait negotiator, Chen Yunlin , is expected to visit the island by the end of next month to attend the next round of high-level talks, a mainland official said yesterday.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi said authorities on both sides were working on the agenda and agreements to be examined in the next round of summit talks between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats) and the Taiwanese-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

"As long as we finish all the tasks in hand, Mr Chen will be able to go to Taiwan," he said. "It will happen before the end of next month."

The summit, an important cross-strait negotiation platform in the absence of formal ties, resumed in Beijing three months ago after a 10-year hiatus.

The talks between Mr Chen and SEF head Chiang Pin-kung resulted in the lifting of decade-old restrictions on regular charter flights across the Taiwan Strait and on mainland tourists visiting the island.

But the two sides said they still needed further work before allowing flights to fly directly across the strait. All chartered flights still need to detour through Hong Kong airspace.

Mr Li said the passenger load of the weekend charter flights had reached an average of 90 per cent.

He said the 114 return weekend flights provided by 11 airlines would not meet demand this month, when many Taiwanese living and working on the mainland are expected to rush home for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Next month's summit was expected to touch on issues such as the possibility of direct cross-strait flights and on expanding the number of flights, Mr Li said.

Starting last Sunday, a fortnight of special charter flights has been arranged for the festival. Most of the flights from Taiwan will go to Shanghai or Xiamen , in Fujian province .

Mr Li said direct cross-strait sea freight would be one of the issues discussed during the summit. Cross-strait sea transport has been largely restricted except for the area between Fujian's coast and Taiwan's Quemoy, Matsu and Penghu islands.

Mr Li also confirmed that the next round of summit talks between the ruling parties of the two sides - the Communist Party and the Kuomintang - would be held in December. He did not say where.

Mr Chen was quoted by Xinhua as saying on Tuesday that he hoped to deliver two pandas, Tuantuan and Yuanyuan, to Taiwan next month. The pandas, whose abbreviated names together mean reunion, are seen as a goodwill gesture by Beijing to the island. Mainland experts would also inspect the pandas' future home at Taipei Zoo, he added.
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Old September 12th, 2008, 05:28 AM   #268
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TAIWAN MINISTER HOPEFUL ABOUT ADDITIONAL CROSS-STRAIT FLIGHTS

TAIPEI, Sept 12 Asia Pulse - Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo said Thursday that he hopes the number of Chinese tourists coming to Taiwan will increase through more direct flights and flight routes across the Taiwan Strait.

Mao declined to elaborate on how many more Chinese tourists he hopes to see, but he was quoted as saying in a recent radio interview that the hopes the number will increase to 1,000 per day.

Taiwan has a cap of 3,000 Chinese tourist arrivals per day, but the actual arriving numbers have fallen far short of expectations.

He said that since the opening of direct weekend charter flights between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and an increase in the number of Chinese tourists allowed to enter Taiwan in July, average passenger loads of the charter planes on the various cross-strait routes has been nearly 90 per cent.

"This could be seen as quite successful, although only between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the passengers have been Chinese tourists, a ratio lower than the original expectations," Mao said.

He noted that Taiwan and China will conduct a second round of talks next month and expressed hope that the number of weekend flights can be increased from the current 18, along with an increase in flight destinations and routes.

Taiwan has opened up eight destinations, while China has opened five flight designations for the weekend charter flights.

"Taiwan has continued to talk to China on the matter, " he said, adding that one of the reasons for the low numbers might be the August Beijing Olympics, as many Chinese might have preferred to stay home to watch the competition.

Mao noted that the tourism operators on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are still at an adjustment stage and that decisions cannot be made unilaterally.

He noted that Taiwan has 197 travel agencies handling cross-strait tourism, while China only allows 33 travel agencies to handle tourists wishing to visit Taiwan.

But he added that China has taken heed of the matter and has promised to move toward a more open direction.

China also has problems with some of Taiwan's restrictions, Mao went on, such as Taiwan's requirement that Chinese tourists provide certificates of being either at school, in work or in possession of suitable funds.

Mao said these hurdles can only be overcome through cooperation between both sides.

In addition, as senior citizens are the mainstay of tourism, Mao said Taiwan is willing to consider easing the employment requirement, but he also expressed the hope that Beijing will make goodwill moves of its own.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #269
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Outbound tourism slides but visits to HK grow slightly
19 September 2008
Taipei Times

Although Taiwans outbound tourism dropped by nearly 6 percent in July, the number of Taiwanese visitors to Hong Kong edged up 0.6 percent, a Hong Kong Tourism Board official said on Wednesday.

This showed that visits to the Chinese territory had not yet been affected by the commencement of direct weekend charter flights, Terruce Wang , director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board in Taiwan, said at a press conference. Taiwan is an important source of tourists for Hong Kong. Facing various unfavorable factors this year, such as high oil prices, the economic slowdown and cross-strait direct flights, the Hong Kong government does not dare take them lightly, Wang said.To attract more young people to visit Hong Kong, the board said the territory would host a 38-day Halloween bash from next Friday through Nov. 2. The board has coordinated with five Taiwanese travel agencies and Cathay Pacific Airways to offer attractive deals, with four-day-and-three-night tour packages starting at NT$6,999 per person, Wang said.Separately, Lion Travel Service Co , a major tour operator in Taiwan, said on Wednesday it was working with the Thailand Tourism Division in Taipei to offer tailor-made honeymoon packages to the Southeast Asian country, targeting newlyweds who want to spend their honeymoon overseas for less money. High airline ticket prices and inflationary pressure have seen Lion Travel suffer a customer decline of between 8 percent and 9 percent this year from a year earlier, it said.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #270
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Xiamen Airlines Woos China-Bound Taiwanese Travelers

Taipei, Oct. 22, 2008 (CENS)— Seeing the increasing Cross-strait travel via the so-called “mini three links,” which the Taiwan government allows Taiwan vessels to sail directly from Kinmen (Quemoy) to Xiamen, Xiamen Airlines recently signed an agreement with TransAsia Airways to attract Taiwanese travelers to fly on the former to other cities in China from Xiamen.

Kinmen is an offshore islet belonging to Taiwan, very close to Xiamen. Xiamen Airlines is a leading airline in Fujian and TransAsia Airways is a Taiwan-based airline.

Insiders disclosed that traveling to Shanghai from Taiwan takes about five hours via the “mini link” to Xiamen from Kinmen, costing about NT$11,000 (US$354.8 at US$1 = NT$31). But to do so through either Hong Kong or Macao takes about 4.5 hours and costs approximately NT$16,000 (US$516.1). Such travel on the weekend direct charter flight takes only 2.5 hours but costs NT$18,000 (US$580.6).

So it seems the route via the “mini link” for China-bound Taiwanese travelers has a competitive edge. The traffic from Taiwan to China via the “mini link” accounts for one third of the total travels and is expected to keep growing.

Xiamen Airlines offers more than 100 scheduled flights to other cities in China daily, hence very convenient for travelers, particularly via the “mini link” route. The airline aims to turn Xiamen into the second Hong Kong or Macao as a favorite transit point for Taiwanese travelers going to China.


Travel Volume from Kinmen to Xiamen via “mini link”
Year No. of travelers Growth (%)
2001 21,377 --
2002 53,681 151
2003 160,150 198
2004 406,938 154
2005 518,728 27
2006 608,019 17
2007 677,824 11
Jan.-Sept. 2008 580,138 --
Total 3,026,855 --

Source: The Ministry of Transportation and Communications
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Old October 27th, 2008, 11:02 AM   #271
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Taiwan and China to Sign 4 Agreements During Chiang-Chen Talk

Taipei, Oct. 27, 2008 (CENS)—Taiwan and China are going to sign agreements during the upcoming Direct Cross-strait Links talk in Taipei, greatly liberalizing direct Cross-Strait transportation links, said Lai Shin-yuan, minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), under the Taiwan Cabinet on Oct. 26.

In an exclusive interview with the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, sister publication of Taiwan Economic News, Lai pointed out that the four agreements will be signed during the meeting between P.K. Chiang, chairman of Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), in early November, specifically ones governing aviation, shipping, postal cooperation, and food safety.

Both sides, said Lai, will agree to direct Cross-Strait flights, cutting, among others, the flight time from Taoyuan International Airport to Shanghai Airport by one hour, and jet fuel consumption by 45%, compared with the existing roundabout route via Hong Kong, which takes two and a half hours. Domestic airlines can save some NT$3 billion a year on such direct Cross-Strait flights on weekends, according to Lai.

Cross-Strait shipping will also be direct, without having to pass Japan’s Ishigaki-jima island, saving 27 hours of sailing time, or 15-30% of freightage per trip, in addition to NT$300,000 of harbor fee. The annual saving for domestic freighters over 4,000 sailings amounts to NT$1.2 billion, said Lai.

Lai also pointed out that the weekend chartered flights will become regular weekday flights by the end of this year, at least one daily.

Meanwhile, cargo flights from both sides will fly across the Strait directly, with the number of flights, airports, and cargo pending further negotiation during the Chiang-Chen talk, according to Lai.

In addition, Lai said that both sides will also discuss establishing mechanisms to handle disputes and compensation related to food safety, as well as Cross-Strait cooperation to cope with the global financial tsunami.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 05:57 PM   #272
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Taiwan, China to triple direct flights: report
3 November 2008
Agence France Presse

Taiwan and China reached agreement Monday on tripling direct passenger flights to 108 per week and expanding services to 16 more Chinese cities, Taiwan's state-run news agency said.

Central News Agency (CNA) reported that the deal was struck in preparatory talks ahead of formal discussions slated for Tuesday aimed at moving the two formerly bitter rivals closer economically.

The deal was set to be signed Tuesday afternoon between China's top negotiator with Taiwan, Chen Yunlin and his local counterpart Chiang Pin-kung, CNA said.

The report could not be immediately confirmed with Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation.

This week's meetings aim to build on talks held in Beijing in June, the first direct dialogue between the two sides after a 10-year gap, which led to the launch of regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait and relaxed control on tourism.

The two sides in June agreed to operate 36 flights across the Taiwan Strait each weekend, connecting the island with five mainland cities.
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Old November 4th, 2008, 06:41 AM   #273
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New Flight Service Launched by China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines
3 November 2008
Travel Business Review

Direct weekend charter flights between Taoyuan and Nanjing are to be launched by China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines.

Five round-trip charter flights are to be operated directly to Nanjing in November, 2008, with one return flight every Saturday. An Airbus 330-300 aircraft with a two-class service that includes 36 business class seats and 277 economy class seats is to be utilized on the service.

According to China Airlines’ chairman, ‘As Taiwan’s largest carrier in terms of fleet and network, we are confident that CAL will provide the best service to business travelers and families flying between Nanjing and Taoyuan, using a modern A330-300 aircraft equipped with roomy seats and advanced inflight entertainment systems.’
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Old November 4th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #274
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Taiwan air, shipping sectors to reap benefits of China deals
4 November 2008
Agence France Presse

Taiwan's aviation and shipping industries expect to receive a huge economic boost from closer ties with China once agreements on a range of improved economic links are finalised as expected Tuesday.

Chen Yunlin, a senior Chinese negotiator, arrived in Taipei Monday for historic talks with his Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Pin-kung to map out the expansion of direct air links and establishment of direct shipping services.

The agreements are expected to see the expansion of weekend charter flights to daily services, the launch of direct cargo services as well as the improved shipping links.

Late Monday, the two sides announced they had agreed to triple direct passenger flights to 108 per week and expand services to a total of 21 Chinese cities.

Chen, representing Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, is set to attend a signing ceremony Tuesday with Chiang, head of the Straits Exchange Foundation.

In July, the once-fierce rivals launched the first direct weekend flights across the Taiwan Strait, with 36 round-trip flights weekly, operating between six Taiwanese airports and five Chinese airports.

Both sides will benefit from direct services rather than having to fly through the airspace of a third territory, usually Hong Kong, on the way.

"I expect the new measure will help airlines save 10-20 percent on their costs -- it is definitely a big plus for us," said Roger Han, senior vice president of China Airlines, Taiwan's leading international carrier.

Han said he estimates the flight time between Taipei and Shanghai, the most popular route for Taiwanese travellers, will be cut by as much as 40 percent, to about 90 minutes.

This shorter flight time would translate into a cost reduction of about 20 percent, he said.

"More convenient and cheaper flights will no doubt attract more passengers and boost business," Han said.

Direct air cargo services would save Taiwanese investors in China hundreds of millions of Taiwan dollars each year, said Cheng Cheng-mount, chief economist of Citibank in Taiwan.

But Allen Tseng of Capital Securities Corp sounded a note of caution, saying current demand did not justify such an expansion in services.

"Just look at the demand for current weekend charter flights. How will increasing the number of flights and increasing the number of locations help with a basic lack of demand?" he told local media.

Meanwhile, Yang Ming Marine estimated direct shipping links will cut 800 million to one billion Taiwan dollars (24.3-30.5 million US) in costs a year.

Currently, most Taiwanese ships must traverse Japanese waters before heading to China.

A company spokesman said the journey time would be reduced by about 15 percent on average, with the improved links expected to generate 100 billion Taiwan dollars in new business for the sector over the next three to five years.

Since the early 1990s, Taiwanese investors have poured an estimated 150 billion US dollars into China, which is the biggest market for Taiwanese exporters, accounting for 28 percent of total exports in the first half of this year.
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Old November 5th, 2008, 03:36 PM   #275
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Cross-Straits flights a challenge to city tourism
5 November 2008
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

The local travel industry is anticipating a tough operating environment following the expansion of direct passenger flights between the mainland and Taiwan.

The deal between the two sides was agreed to yesterday. Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman James Tien said the impact caused by the direct links hasn't been assessed, but he added that the travel industry will need to strengthen measures to attract more Taiwanese visitors.

The board is planning to launch a Hong Kong and Guangdong Christmas tour package in Taiwan, diverting the island's tourists to the city before reaching Guangdong.

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents Chairman Michael Wu said the direct links will intensify the problems suffered by the tourism sector and related trades, including aviation, hotel and retail, in the financial crisis.

Wu estimated that about 20,000 Taiwanese will be aboard the 108 direct flights to the mainland each week. Currently, 70 percent of those travelers have to stop in Hong Kong before heading to the mainland.

Taiwan residents logged 2.29 million entries into Hong Kong last year, accounting for 8 percent of all recorded visits to the city.

The number of arrivals by Taiwanese travelers from January to August this year stood at 1.56 million, a slight increase of 2.3 percent over the same period last year. About 70 percent of those trips were made by travelers on their way to other destinations. The remaining 30 percent of the entries were those who stayed in Hong Kong overnight and spent an average of HK$5,000 in the city.

"Hong Kong's position as a transit hub is threatened," Wu said. "The consumption industry will be severely affected."

Taiwan Business Association Chairwoman Susie Chiang said she expects some Taiwanese tourists to be attracted to the direct flights to the mainland because they will be cheaper.

"Hong Kong being a transit hub will be affected," she said. "That is inevitable."

But she added that Hong Kong's position as a bridge between Taiwan and the mainland will not be affected because of the SAR's sound legal system and high degree of freedom.

China Airlines struck a more positive note.

Its spokesman pointed out that the number of passengers and flights between Taipei and Hong Kong won't be affected after the launch of weekend direct flights between the mainland and Taiwan province.

He said it is too early to assess the impact caused by the expansion of direct flights.

The spokesman said Hong Kong will maintain its unique position as a prominent city in the Pearl River Delta region and as a transit hub, as the city's airport has connections with many major international cities.

A spokesman for the SAR government said that the impact caused by the expansion of direct links will last for only a short time.

The spokesman said the closer ties between the mainland and Taiwan will enable Hong Kong to strengthen its position as a financial center.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #276
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H.K. TOURISM OPERATORS WARY OF NEW TAIWAN-CHINA AIR LINKS

HONG KONG, Nov 6 Asia Pulse - As a new air link pact between Taiwan and China will take effect soon, Hong Kong's tourism sector is concerned about being marginalized amid the changing situation in the Taiwan Strait, the Hong Kong-based Mingpao daily newspaper reported Wednesday.

Citing an executive of the Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents, the newspaper said the local tourism sector fears that it might lose about a million China-bound transit travelers from Taiwan per year -- or two-thirds last year's total number of Taiwanese transit passengers in the former British colony -- with new, more direct flight routes to be opened between Taiwan and China.

The new daily charter flights will make cross-strait travel more convenient, enabling Taiwanese travelers to head for many regions in China without having to detour via Hong Kong, the executive said.

Some Hong Kong tourism operators are worried that a large number of individual Chinese tourists will be attracted to Taiwan instead of Hong Kong, as several important Chinese cities, such as Shenzhen and Tianjin, have been added to the direct cross-strait air service program.

Others contend that Hong Kong should take advantage of the more direct cross-strait flights to promote a special "greater China" tour package featuring Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shenzhen.

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the expanded Taiwan-China airlinks will certainly have a negative impact on the willingness of Taiwanese tourists to visit Hong Kong.

In an effort to mitigate the adverse impact, the HKTB is considering an upgrade of the functions of its Taipei office, he noted.

Taiwan and China signed four cooperation accords Tuesday in Taipei, including one on the expansion of the cross-strait weekend charter flights that were launched in early July.

At present, all non-stop cross-strait charters must pass through the Hong Kong Flight Information Region, which adds to the travel time between cities in central and northern China and Taiwan.

Under the new agreement, the 36 non-stop charter flights that have been plying the Taiwan-China route Friday to Monday since July will be increased to 108 non-stop charters per week, with direct flights available every day of the week. The number of destinations in China will also be expanded to 21, up from the existing five.

Apart from Beijing, Shanghai (Pudong) , Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing -- which were included in the first phase of the cross-strait weekend charter program -- the new pact will open services to cities scattered throughout China such as Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Tianjin and Dalian.

In the future, a flight between Taipei and Shanghai will take as little as 81 minutes, while a Taipei-Beijing flight will take 166 minutes -- both marking a reduction of more than one hour in travel time.

In line with the new cross-strait routes, China has also eased its restrictions on travel to Taiwan.

The minimum size of a group tour to Taiwan was lowered from 10 to five travelers and the maximum period of stay in Taiwan was increased from 10 to 15 days -- a measure that many believe will pave the way for greater numbers of individual travelers from China and help create a genuine boom in Taiwan's tourism-related businesses.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #277
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HK looks to future - as strait rivals ink historic deal
Hong Kong Standard
Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Taiwan and the mainland yesterday inked four deals that could bring billions of dollars of economic benefit to both sides after almost 60 years of mutual ill- will.

The deals will affect the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting the SAR, Hong Kong Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun warned.

The government, however, said the impact will only be short term and that Hong Kong can benefit from the strengthened cross-strait relations, which can further consolidate the city as Asia's financial center.

China's top negotiator on Taiwan affairs Chen Yunlin and his Taiwanese counterpart Chiang Pin-kung signed the agreements in Taipei's Grand Hotel.

The two men shook hands as they held copies of the signed agreements bound in silk brocade.

Chiang then presented Chen with a large framed painting with eight Chinese characters that read: "Peace agreement for a win-win situation."

Chen reciprocated with a crystal sculpture of a handshake, which he said symbolized peace and cooperation.

"Further cross-strait economic co- operation is needed under the financial tsunami," Chen said.

"The deals will greatly boost Taiwan's competitiveness," Chiang said.

Under the agreement on aviation, the two sides will triple direct passenger flights to 108 per week and expand services to 21 mainland cities from the current five. Cargo flights will also be introduced, with up to 60 round trips per month.

Both sides agreed to launch a cargo charter-flight service between two mainland terminals - Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou airports - and Taoyuan and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Under the shipping agreement, Taiwan is to open 11 ports while China opens 63 for direct shipping.

Shipping companies from each side will be exempted from business and income tax and are allowed to open liaison offices.

Chiang said direct air links would cut fuel costs for airlines by 40 to 50 percent. Direct cargo links would cut shipping costs by 15 to 30 percent, with journey times shortened by up to 27 hours.

A direct flight from Taipei to Shanghai is only about 80 minutes against two hours and 42 minutes under the current weekend charter flight service because of the Hong Kong flyover route.

The two sides will start providing a direct mail service.

To enhance food safety, both sides will set up a mechanism for exchanging information on problematic products and officials will be authorized to pay visits to work out regulations on food safety mechanisms.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #278
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Logistics firms see direct cross-strait links as good business
Xinhua News Agency
10 November 2008

BEIJING -- Agreements on direct flights and shipping, signed on November 4 in Taipei, are drawing strong interest from airlines and shipping companies from the mainland and Taiwan.

"Regular charter flights, instead of flights only weekends and festivals, were our long-term expectations," said Liu Shaoyong, the general manager of mainland-based China Southern Airlines. "Direct air routes are very good for our business."

A flight from the mainland to Taiwan via Hong Kong under the current arrangement takes two hours and 42 minutes and burns 16 tonnes of fuel. Under the new arrangement, flights will take 69 minutes and burn 7.3 tonnes of fuel.

"Less travel time and expense benefits both passengers and airlines," Liu said.

Wei Hsing-Hsiung, chairman of the board of Taiwan-based China Airlines, was glad to see the number of passenger charter flights increase from 36 on weekends to 108 a week.

"We have profits of about 1.5 million U.S. dollars from weekend charter flights. The figure is likely to reach 5 million dollars due to more flights, while the cost might fall by 20 percent as the route is shorter," he said.

The new agreement only opened one direct air route, between Shanghai and Taipei. Xiamen, the coastal city in southeastern Fujian Province directly opposite to Taiwan, was not included.

"We are expecting more air routes," said Yang Guanghua, general manager of Xiamen Airlines.

The flight distance between Xiamen and Taipei will be one third shorter than at present and the flying time will be about half, he said.

The two sides said in the agreement that they are going to negotiate another route linking the southern part of Taiwan with the mainland.

To cope with increasing flights, Yang's company plans to use 10 more passenger planes next year, he said.

Taiwan's senior economic official Shih Yen-shiang told the local daily China Times on Wednesday that he estimated every direct trip across the Strait could save companies 300,000 New Taiwan dollars (about 9,000 U.S. dollars).

"Based on 4,000 trips a year, 1.2 billion dollars will be saved," he said.

Under the new agreement, the mainland and Taiwan will exempt each other's shipping firms from business and income taxes.

For the container divisions of Taiwan's three leading shipping lines -- Evergreen Marine, Wan Hai Lines and Yang Ming Group -- 60 percent could be related to the mainland. Tax cuts will save each 2 to 3 billion NT dollars, another local newspaper, the Commercial Times, said.

Ningbo of eastern Zhejiang Province was one of the 63 ports that the mainland opened to Taiwan ships.

"The most direct effect will be increasing cargo volume," said Tong Mengda, chief economist of Ningbo Port Holding. "The voyage to Taiwan has been cut from 25 hours to ten. This is good for both shipping companies and ports."
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Old November 13th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #279
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兩岸「大三通」與香港
12 November 2008
經濟日報

兩岸兩會(台北海基會、北京海協會)協商,在萬眾矚目下,已在台北完成空運直航、海運直航、郵政、食品安全等四項協議簽署。對兩岸關係進展而言,前兩項協議較具歷史意義,是所謂兩岸「大三通」的歷史文件,不僅象徵已完全消除現存兩岸經貿交往的最大障礙,也代表兩岸航運近60年始終未能「海空直通」(對飛直航)的問題,已能正式解決。

經初步估計,對兩岸人民及企業而言,兩岸實施「海空直通」,將可省下龐大的時間成本及航運成本,已有專家提出見解,認為每年至少可為台灣節省超過新台幣500億元。事實上,未來兩岸「海空直通」,除可節省直接的運輸成本,對台灣而言,更重要的,乃是其突破很可能被「邊緣化」的經濟戰略意義。

茲以海運業為例,「不繞點」直航每航次可節省數萬美元的成本,以目前每年台灣航商經第三地到中國大陸各港口的航次來看,一年約可省下新台幣20億元的成本,未來開放內陸港口,達成江海聯運,對貨櫃航商以及散裝航商都是「利多」。

但對一向扮演「中轉」的香港而言,卻會帶來一些衝擊,除海運業,以航空客運業為例,依香港國泰航空公司的資料分析,其每年利潤將減少約新台幣24億元,乘客人數減少70萬人次,而經香港到大陸或台灣的旅客會減少10%。

在兩岸完成簽訂「大三通」協議後,已有不少香港的傳媒報導表示對香港的前景感到憂慮,認為香港將無法繼續扮演兩岸「中介」的角色,今後難再從中獲取「中介」的經濟利益。甚至有某大報的社評提出警告,認為「大三通」將對香港經濟出現更大的挑戰,新的政經形勢將推動兩岸開展更密切的各項經貿合作領域(包括金融業在內),香港要避免被「邊緣化」,就必須「從整應對」,切勿「慢三拍」。

筆者認為,這些警告是多餘的顧慮,兩岸「大三通」實施後,通過香港過境的遊客及貨物的確有所減少,但對香港的整體經濟結構層面而言,其損失仍算是小量的額度,若從區域經濟的「連動」發展來看,兩岸「大三通」有利於擴大區域內的各項經貿能量,反而會令香港市場從中受惠、取得益處。茲舉香港金融業為例,相對兩岸市場而言,由於仍具區域競爭優勢,反而可令業界發揮其更大的市場擴增效應。

香港一向是兩岸的「中轉」航運中心,對兩岸三地的空運業而言,依據此次訂立的《兩岸空運直航協議》,最大的利基點在於將每周的固定包機,由目前的36航班擴大為108航班,同時開放航點由五個增加為21個,另外新增同意每月60航次的往返貨運包機,亦有極大的機會改採「截彎取直」模式,不再繞道香港飛航情報區。

此舉看來對香港航空業不利,且因正值當前全球航空業景氣疲弱之際,此次兩岸空運直航的新協議,無疑僅為兩岸的航空業界注入一泉「活水」。對香港而言,其台港「黃金航線」運能,勢必因兩岸「大三通」而被取代,但仍有「轉機」機會。例如台港兩地政府可研擬未來兩地「黃金航線」轉型的配套措施,爭取雙方對等開放「第五航權」,譬如讓台灣航空業者可經營經香港至歐洲的熱門航線,如香港至倫敦;讓香港航空業者可經營台北至北京、上海的熱門航線。如此一來,台港聯手成為雙「中轉」地,香港反而可再從中開創新的商機。

根據花旗銀行的報告,兩岸實施「海空直通」後,估計香港旅遊業一年損失將達新台幣100億元,但這只占2008年香港GDP的0.2%旅遊業收入,該報告認為,針對兩岸「大三通」,港人實在不必「杞人憂天」,擔心香港被「打沉」。

筆者認為,香港依然是台灣的主要海空交通樞紐,兩岸「海空直通」將增加兩岸三地的經貿「連動」,對香港反而有利,香港依然能維持及增強其國際化金融及商貿中心的獨特地位。未來,更應融入兩岸,並共同走向繁榮。

(作者是英國倫敦大學法學博士)
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Old November 13th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Author's photo collection : http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=19728
2008-7-4






FAT is gone. So sad, I wanted to fly them some day.
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