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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #161
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Beijing seeks more talks on cross-strait flights
7 April 2005
South China Morning Post

Mainland aviation authorities yesterday sent a letter to the Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) seeking a quick resumption of talks on cross-strait cargo and holiday charter flights.

The letter, sent by Pu Zhaozhou , the Hong Kong and Macau affairs director of the Civil Aviation Authority of China, came shortly after the vice-chairman of Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang, Chiang Pin-kung, returned from a visit to the mainland.

Mr Chiang reached a consensus with mainland officials on ways to improve cross-strait ties, including operating cross-strait cargo charter flights.

Mr Pu called for the new chairman of the civilian TAA, Fan Chih-chiang, to send delegates to discuss details of regular charter flights. But Mr Fan said he had yet to obtain the Taiwanese government's authorisation to attend talks with the mainland.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:26 PM   #162
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Taiwan Calls Mainland China to Positively Response to Charter Cargo Flights When Echoing Cautiously
Beijing's Three Gifts after Lien Chan Visits
Esther Guan
06 May 2005
Taiwan Business News

Taipei, 5 May (InfoTimes)- After carefully sand table exercise, Taiwan's cabinet presented counter proposal over the three gifts Beijing sent to Taiwan after KMT leader Lien Chan's visit. Beijing agreed to allow Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, grant over ten items of Taiwan agriculture product zero-tariff advantage and send giant pandas to Taiwan. In responding, the cabinet urged Beijing to positively calls of direct charter air cargo flights via models agreed by both sides.

Beijing has been pushing for charter cargo flights for a while, but the process had been deadlocked because controversies on the pre-condition of negotiation as Beijing requested to talk the issue via private sectors.

Taiwan companies invest in the mainland China is eager for direct air cargo flights as nearly over 90% of production capacities in electronics industry of the island had moved westward. They is the group calling for direct cargo flights the most earnestly to meet requirement of real time assembly.

In the past years, a growing number of foreign forwarders have been taking the advantages of Taiwan's absence in the direst air-cargo market of the mainland China. US-based Federal Express opened direct express service from Shanghai to Frankfurt in March. In May, it opened direct flights from Shanghai's Pudong airport to the airport located in central Japan. DHL provided four direct cargo flights in a week between Beijing and Hong Kong in mid April and one flight between Shanghai and the US a week. US-based UPS introduced Gongchou to the US flights and the POLAR air cargo company opened four flights a week from Shanghai to the US.

Airlines from Singapore also introduced air cargo fights from Xiamen and Nanjing to the US. To the development, local air cargo business circles are very nervous, worrying that Taiwan airlines are in danger of being mergers by foreign brands if the situation developing with no improvement.

On proposal of the green tunnel opened specially for Taiwan fruits on zero-tariff basis, the government said related agriculture measures are better to negotiate via the platform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The cabinet is willing to talk on details with the mainland China on issues such as the items enjoying the treatment, the transparency on Customs clearance procedure and the expansion of import channels.

On issue of Beijing's deregulation of visiting of the island by Chinese tourists, the cabinet proposed both sides to resolve controversies first and then make the most proper arrangement agreed by both governments. The controversial issues include the check of mainlanders certifications, the repatriation of mainlander visitors left, the cooperation regulation of agencies across the strait and the settlement scheme of disputes originated from travelling.

This time, Taiwan authorities said it would combine the issues of direct-charter air cargo flights and the deregulation of mainlander tourists to the island in talks. Officials revealed the government might allow dual-assignment scheme in proceeding related dialogue. That is, government officials should attend talks between the mainland China and Taiwan representatives from private sector assigned by the government because the government has to know clearly every details of the negotiation.

Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Chen Yunlin proposed in the previous day that Taiwan private organizations could send delegations to the mainland China for talks of deregulating of sightseeing of mainlanders. Travel Agent Association of ROC president Tseng Seng-hai dismissed the possibility, saying that private sector needs the authorization of Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to proceed similar deals.

Tseng accompanied PFP chairman James Soong to visit China on 5 May. Sources said Tseng might bring the cabinet's proposal to the matter in the trip. Tseng earlier proposed that the mainland China could announce deregulation on the travelling of general mainlanders to Taiwan, leaving other enforcement to Taiwan authorities, such as management rules.

At present, MAC only allowed those mainlanders with foreign resident certifications and those mainlanders via a third nation to visit Taiwan. Ordinary mainlanders are not allowed to visit Taiwan. There are over 200 groups of 3,000 people visiting Taiwan last months with some of them transiting from Japan to Taiwan. Beijing does not allow them to travel to Taiwan up to now.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 04:45 AM   #163
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Charter Cargo Flights Top Cross-Straight Agenda : MAC
By Sofia Wu
6 May 2005
Central News Agency English News

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Taiwan looks forward to negotiating with China for the opening of direct charter cargo flights across the Taiwan Strait, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu said Friday.

The nation's top mainland policy planner made the remarks while meeting with a parliamentary delegation from Sweden.

Following the visits to China by Taiwan's two opposition leaders -- Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan from April 26 through May 3 and People First Party Chairman James Soong from May 5-13, Wu said the ROC government is ready to discuss the opening of direct charter cargo flights to facilitate trade exchanges.

Wu said if Beijing is sincere in defusing cross-strait tension as it claims in inviting Taiwan's opposition leaders, it should resume dialogue with Taiwan's duly elected government on practical issues.

"Charter cargo flights could be a priority topic for cross-strait consultations," Wu said.

In the future, Wu said, Taiwan also hopes to negotiate with China over the establishment of a currency settlement mechanism and agreements on protecting Taiwan investors in China and avoiding double taxation on Taiwan investors.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #164
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Cross-Strait flights to hit CNAC's ticket sales
Gladys Tang
28 May 2005
Hong Kong Standard

China National Aviation Company said it will lose passengers if a direct air service across the Taiwan Strait is established, though its 43.29 percent-owned Dragon Airlines and 51 percent-held Air Macau are ready to add new routes to replace lost revenue.

"Some transit passengers will be lost if the direct flights across the Taiwan Strait are allowed," CNAC chairman Kong Dong said after the company's annual general meeting.

"However, we are confident that the passenger volume will increase with the activities between mainland and Taiwan."

Direct flights and shipping between the mainland and Taiwan are banned. However, Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao said when meeting two weeks ago with Taiwan's People First Party chairman James Soong that the two governments should promote direct regular flights through professional associations. Both parties agreed to co- operate on establishing the air links as early as next year.

Market watchers reckon that carriers flying between Hong Kong and Taiwan, including CNAC and Cathay Pacific, will lose traffic if direct flights begin.

CNAC also faces pressure from high oil prices.

Average fuel costs rose 40 percent year-on-year to more than US$1.40 (HK$10.90) a gallon, said Dragonair chief financial officer Francis Wai.

Fuel accounted for 22 percent of the company's total costs during the first four months of this year, versus 20 percent last year. That's lower than Cathay Pacific's current 30 percent, up from 24 percent last year.

"Our [oil] cost is lower because we serve short-haul flights," Wai said.

The Hong Kong government approved Dragonair's and Cathay's request to raise the fuel surcharge to HK$86 per ticket from HK$42 for short hauls, effective next month.

For long hauls, it will climb to HK$250 from HK$118.

Separately, Air Macau chairman Gu Tiefei said his carrier is still in talks with Shun Tak and other companies to create a budget carrier after Australian airline Virgin Blue dropped out.
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Old June 14th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #165
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Taiwan China Air May Seek Alternatives To China Cargo Mkt
13 June 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd. (2610.TW) said Monday it may seek other opportunities in China's cargo market, though it remains hopeful it can buy a 25% stake in China Cargo Airlines.

In 2001, China Airlines said it would acquire a 25% stake in China Cargo, controlled by Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines Corp. (CEA), in order to tap into the cargo market in China.

'Negotiations with China Cargo Airlines are still in process,' said Roger Han, spokesman for Taiwan's largest air carrier.

However, China Airlines doesn't rule out other alternatives to expand its cargo business in China as 'cross-strait business is important for China Airlines,' Han said.

Han declined to comment when asked what has prevented the deal, approved by both the Taiwanese and Chinese governments, from materializing up to now.

On Saturday, the Economic Daily News said China Airlines may seek other partners for its cargo business.

The paper said misgivings by China Eastern are delaying the deal, without giving further specifics.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:36 AM   #166
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Taiwan May Tap Private Assoc For Talks On China Flights
14 June 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--Taiwan Premier Frank Hsieh said the government may mandate a private airline association to hold talks with China on two-way cargo charter flights.

Speaking at a gathering with Taiwanese doing business in China Monday evening, Hsieh said he has asked the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to lay out the plan, and the Taipei Airlines Association to arrange talks with China.

The potential talks on cargo flights is one of a series of measures that Taipei will push in order to strengthen exchanges with China, said Hsieh, according to a statement from Taiwan's Government Information Office.

Taipei also hopes to soon hold talks with Beijing on allowing exports of the island's agricultural produce to China, said Hsieh.

Hsieh said the Taiwan External Trade Development Council will help the Council of Agriculture and the Mainland Affairs Council in cross-strait talks on agriculture exports.

In the statement, Hsieh said the Mainland Affairs Council and the transport ministry will be responsible for arranging talks with Beijing on the issue of allowing more tourists from China to visit the island. Taiwan started allowing tourists from China in 2002, but sets a limit on the number of travelers.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:50 PM   #167
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China: Willing To Discuss Cargo Flights With Taipei
15 June 2005

TAIPEI (Dow Jones)--China's Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday it is willing to discuss with Taipei the prospect of having cargo charter flights between the two sides.

'This has been our long-standing stance,' said Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Chinese agency, said at a regular televised press conference.

Li's remark came a day after Taiwan said it may authorizea private airline association to hold talks with China on two-way cargo charter flights.

Taiwan Premier Frank Hsieh said Monday he has asked the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to lay out the plan, and may ask the Taipei Airlines Association to arrange talks with China.

The potential talks on cargo flights is one of a series of measures that Taipei will push in order to strengthen exchanges with China, said Hsieh, according to a statement from Taiwan's Government Information Office issued Tuesday.

Taipei also hopes to hold talks soon with Beijing on allowing exports of the island's agricultural produce to China, said Hsieh.

Hsieh said the Taiwan External Trade Development Council will help the Council of Agriculture and the Mainland Affairs Council in cross-strait talks on agriculture exports.

In the statement, Hsieh said the Mainland Affairs Council and the transport ministry will be responsible for arranging talks with Beijing on the issue of allowing more tourists from China to visit the island.

Taiwan started allowing tourists from China in 2002, but sets a limit on the number of travelers.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #168
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Ctrip and Taiwan's ezTravel Jointly Advance Travel Across the Taiwan Strait
Wednesday June 8, 5:00 am ET

SHANGHAI, China, June 8 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ctrip.com International, Ltd., a leading consolidator of hotel accommodations and airline tickets in China, today announced that it has established a strategic alliance relationship with ezTravel.com, Taiwan's leading travel service provider which provides both online and offline travel services. With this alliance, Ctrip can offer its customers various independent leisure packages to Taiwan and provide novel and comprehensive travel information about Taiwan through ezTravel.

James Liang, Chairman and CEO of Ctrip, said, "This collaboration brings new opportunities to travelers in mainland China and Taiwan, making important contributions to advancing travel across the Taiwan Strait. ezTravel's vast resources allow Ctrip to provide travelers with a variety of interesting leisure package choices for Taiwan tours."

"We are excited to gain access to the breadth and depth of Ctrip's product offerings and benefit from Ctrip's experience in the independent travel market in China," said Mr. Jinzhang You, General Manager of ezTravel. "We believe ezTravel's valuable expertise in the Taiwan travel market will allow Ctrip's customers to truly enjoy a first-rate travel experience in Taiwan."

About Ctrip.com International, Ltd.

Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is a leading consolidator of hotel accommodations and airline tickets in China. Ctrip aggregates information on hotels and flights and enable customers to make informed and cost-effective hotel and flight bookings. Ctrip targets primarily business and leisure travelers in China who do not travel in group. These travelers form a traditionally under-served yet fast-growing segment of the China travel industry. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 04:42 AM   #169
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Taipei's Sungshan Airport Not on Track for Direct China Links

TAIPEI, June 23 Asia Pulse - Despite a government plan to open Taiwan up to Chinese tourists, Taipei's Sung Shan Airport is not suitable for serving direct flights between Taiwan and China at present, a government official said Wednesday.

Lin Hsin-teh, deputy director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, made the remarks at a public hearing called by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung at the Legislative Yuan in which government officials, academicians and industry executives got together to discuss ways to develop Taipei's tourism.

Responding to Ting's proposal that Sung Shan Airport be allowed to service direct flights from Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport, Lin said that Chiang Kai-shek International Airport near Taipei and Kaohsiung International Airport in southern Taiwan are more suitable.

Sung Shan Airport is not being considered by the government at present, Lin said, adding however that the domestic airport could be a study case after conditions for direct links across the Taiwan Strait have become ripe.

Appointing an airport for cross-strait direct flights will mainly depend on the situation between Taiwan and China, he explained.

Hsia Chu-jeou, a professor at National Taiwan University, said that the government should open Taiwan to Chinese tourists as soon as possible and should designate Sung Shan Airport to ply direct links with Hongqiao Airport, to help inject economic momentum to both Taipei and Taiwan.

Taiwan Visitors Association Chairman Stanley Yen urged the government to hold substantive talks with China to ward off a possible negative impact of the opening.

Arguing that the government must not pass the responsibility of preventing the absconding en masse of some groups of Chinese tourists to tourist agents, Yen said it is the government's responsibility to negotiate with China on the issue and ask the Chinese side to take measures to stop any re-occurrences.

Nevertheless, Yen called for a standard practice in receiving Chinese tourists, pointing out that there must be no differences in treating visitors from China or elsewhere. This, he said, will help Chinese visitors gain a better understanding of Taiwan and improve Taiwan's international image.

A representative from the Travel Quality Assurance Association suggested that Taiwan hotels treat Chinese tourists fairly because poor treatment will seriously taint Taiwan's image.

(CNA)
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Old August 4th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #170
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Taiwan seeks access to China airspace to save fuel

TAIPEI, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Taiwan will allow its airlines to seek permission from China to use its airspace to reduce flying time and cut soaring fuel costs, its premier said on Wednesday, a move hailed as a further sign of easing tensions.

Premier Frank Hsieh also renewed a call for talks with Beijing to start direct charter flights between Taiwan and mainland China, rivals since a civil war ended in 1949.

"We agree to discuss cargo and passenger charter flights as well as holiday or other special charters so we can make arrangements as soon as possible," Hsieh told a weekly cabinet meeting.

Taipei has previously said it wanted to talk about direct air cargo charters in the first stage.

China welcomed the call for new charter flight talks, the official Xinhua news agency said in a brief report, quoting an unnamed spokesman with the Cabinet-level Taiwan Affairs Office.

"We have noticed the remarks of officials with the Taiwan authorities regarding the cross-Strait passenger and cargo charter flights. We welcome such remarks," the official said.

But there was no mention whether Taiwanese airlines would be permitted to use mainland air space.

Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as part of Chinese territory to be brought back to the fold, by force if necessary.

Taiwan has so far banned its carriers from flying over mainland China due to security concerns.

However, Taiwan's China Airlines and EVA Airways were permitted to fly through Chinese airspace during the U.S.-Iraq war in 2003 rather than through the Middle East because of safety considerations.

"Allowing Taiwan aircraft to fly through Chinese airspace without detours will help save flying time and costs and increase the competitiveness of the airline industry," Hsieh said.

Crude oil topped $62 a barrel on supply worries on Wednesday, testing record levels set earlier this week.

EVA Airways said using Chinese airspace could save up to T$200 million (US$6.3 million) in jet fuel costs a year and shorten flying time to Europe by at least one hour.

"We welcome the move," an EVA spokeswoman said.

The news gave a strong boost to airlines stocks. China Airlines shares advanced 4.02 percent to T$18.1 and EVA shares were up 4.65 percent at T$15.75, compared with a 1.77 percent rise for the benchmark index.

"The announcement fuels hopes for better relations ahead. We are encouraged by the possibility of how relations between the two sides will evolve in the future," said Collin Shih Cathay Securities Investment Consulting, pointing to direct air links.

Earlier this week, Premier Hsieh said that Taiwan was likely to expand direct shipping links between its offshore islands and China next month.

Despite often tense political ties, Taiwan investors are estimated to have poured over $100 billion into China since the late 1980s, lured by lower costs and a common language.

Businesses have clamoured for Taipei to allow full-blown air and shipping links to cut transportation costs. Currently, travellers and cargo must go through Hong Kong or a third country.

China and Taiwan exchanged special non-stop charter flights for the first time in over five decades during the Lunar New Year Festival in January and February, a move that many business people hoped would pave the way for permanent direct air links.

(Additional reporting by Judy Lin, and Ben Blanchard in Shanghai)
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Old August 6th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #171
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Taiwan's Mac Wants Cross-Strait Cargo Flights to Begin First

TAIPEI, Aug 4 Asia Pulse - The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Wednesday it looks forward to an early start to direct cargo charter flights across the Taiwan Strait.

"While we agree to simultaneous negotiations for opening direct cross-strait passenger, cargo and special-purpose charter flights, we want cargo charter flights to be opened first," said an MAC official who preferred anonymity.

The official made the remarks after Premier Frank Hsieh announced earlier in the day that the government has decided to lift the ban on Taiwan commercial aircraft flying over China's airspace and agreed to simultaneous negotiations for cross-strait cargo and passenger charter flights.

According to the council, the two major policy initiatives were adopted after extensive discussions with the National Security Council.

In addition to benefiting people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the official said, the two measures are also expected to convey a goodwill message to China and help improve cross-strait relations.

The decision to remove the decades-old flyover ban was made out of consideration of helping carriers cut costs amid the current upward spiral in international crude oil prices, the official said, adding that the flying times to South Asia, the Middle East and Europe will also be greatly reduced.

"If China approves our carriers' flyover applications, it will be a boon to both passengers and airline operators because the travel times and fuel costs will all be cut," the official said.

Industry sources said local carriers can each save an estimated NT$100 million (US$3.1 million) in fuel costs annually if they are allowed to fly over China's airspace.

As to the opening of cross-strait charter flights, Taiwan has expressed an interest in negotiating cargo charter flights, but China is only willing to negotiate the passenger charter flights issue. As a result, no progress has been made in this regard following the smooth conclusion of special Chinese New Year charter flights for Taiwan businessmen operating in China in late January and early February this year.

With a view to pushing for an early realization of cross-strait cargo charter flights to benefit the business community, the official said the government is now advocating simultaneous negotiations for cargo and passenger charter flights.

Hopefully, the official said, China will agree to this proposal so that intermediary bodies on both sides can enter into negotiations soon.

As China refuses for political reasons to engage in direct contact with the government on Taiwan, the MAC has commissioned the Taipei Airline Association to mediate charter flight negotiations.

The official explained that the change in the government's attitude was prompted partly by a recent step forward in talks regarding allowing Chinese citizens to visit Taiwan for sightseeing purposes.

"Once the two sides finally come to term to allow Chinese citizens to make sightseeing trips to Taiwan, there should be a market demand for cross-strait passenger charter flights," he noted.

(CNA)
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Old August 6th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #172
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Taiwan Lifts Ban on Aircraft Flying Over China's Airspace

TAIPEI, Aug 4 Asia Pulse - The government has decided to lift the ban on Taiwan commercial aircraft flying over China's airspace, Premier Frank Hsieh said Wednesday.

Taiwan carriers will now be allowed to fly over China's airspace to save fuel costs and reduce travel times, the premier said at a weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Hopefully, China can approve our air carriers' applications for flyovers as soon as possible," Hsieh said.

If China approves Taiwan carriers' applications, Hsieh said it will be a boon to both passengers and airline operators because the flying times from Taiwan to South Asia, the Middle East and Europe will be greatly reduced.

"The decision to remove the decades-old flyover ban was made out of consideration of helping carriers cut costs amid the current upward spiral in international crude oil prices," Hsieh said.

Meanwhile, Hsieh said the government has agreed to simultaneous negotiations for the opening of passenger, cargo and special-purpose charter flights across the Taiwan Strait.

As August is traditionally an export boom season, Hsieh said he has directed the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to speed up contacts and negotiations with China on the opening of cross-strait cargo charter flights.

China has insisted that issues regarding the opening of cross-strait passenger charter flights should be discussed simultaneously. After a careful review, Hsieh said, the government has agreed to China's proposal.

As China refuses for political reasons to engage in direct contact with Taiwan's government, the latter has commissioned the Taipei Airline Association to mediate charter flight negotiations.
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Old August 9th, 2005, 05:34 AM   #173
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Taiwan Drafts Rules on Overflights Through Chinese Airspace

TAIPEI, Aug 9 Asia Pulse - Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) completed Monday a draft of operational rules governing the overflights of Taiwan commercial aircraft through Chinese airspace and submitted it to the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council for approval.

The draft rules were prepared after Premier Frank Hsieh lifted a ban last week on Taiwan commercial aircraft overflying China's airspace in order to help the airlines reduce their fuel costs and travel time. Hsieh said the government will attempt to negotiate with the authorities in Beijing on the simultaneous opening of passenger, cargo and special-purpose charter flights across the Taiwan Strait.

An MOTC official said that after the Cabinet gives the nod to the draft, the Civil Aeronautics Administration will begin accepting flight route applications from Taiwan carriers. However, the official admitted that whether the new measure can become reality will depend on the attitude of the Chinese authorities.

China Airlines and EVA Airways -- Taiwan's two main carriers -- have been making plans to reroute their flights from Taipei to Paris, Frankfort, Hanoi and the Middle East to go through Chinese airspace. It is estimated that the new routes would allow the two airlines to save hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars in fuel costs each year and cut travel time for each trip by about one hour.
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Old August 16th, 2005, 05:36 PM   #174
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Tuesday August 16, 2:26 PM
Taiwan opens applications for flights over China's airspace

TAIPEI (AFP) - The Taiwan government says it is ready to accept applications from domestic airlines that wish to fly through China's airspace to save costs amid rising oil prices.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration said it would collect the applications even though China has not yet given permission for the use of its airspace, which has been off limits to Taiwan for 56 years.

Details would be finalized after discussions with China, an administration official said. The official could not however say when the talks would be held.

Taiwan's two leading airlines, China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways Corp, said they would apply to operate routes over China to destinations in Europe and Southeast Asia.

The leading CAL planned five passenger and five cargo routes over China, an official said. The government estimated that the airline could save some 260 million Taiwan dollars (8.13 million US) each year.

EVA planned three passenger and three cargo routes, which would save an estimated 150 million Taiwan dollars annually, company spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei said.

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

The ban was relaxed in February when the rivals launched their first non-stop passenger flights during the Lunar 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 the island should it push for formal independence.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Officials said the need for Taiwanese commercial aircraft to be able to fly over the mainland had become urgent after sharp rises in international crude oil prices.

Taipei has also urged Beijing for talks aimed at opening up more direct charter flights between the two sides ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays in September.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #175
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Taiwan airline's airspace request to be approved
Christopher Bodeen, AP
August 19, 2005

China said Thursday it will rush approval of applications by Taiwanese airlines to fly over Chinese airspace, potentially moving the sides closer to ending a 55-year break in direct air links.

"It will take some time [to process the applications] but related work will be completed very soon," civil aviation official Pu Zhaozhou was quoted as saying in an interview with the official China Daily.

However, Pu said talks were needed on specific routes requested by Taiwanese airlines, which in some cases differ from those now in use.

Pu's comments follow an August 3 announcement by Taiwan that it would allow its airlines to overfly China despite a ban by the island on direct flights between the sides that has been in place since 1949.

Reached at his office Thursday, Pu said he had no further comments on the issue.

Taiwanese airlines now avoid Chinese air space on flights to Europe, South Asia and the Middle East by passing either north over Russia or south over Southeast Asia.

Taiwan's two main international airlines, flag carrier China Airlines and EVA Airways, have argued rising fuel costs were adding to the extra expense of the roundabout routes. Flying directly across the Taiwan Strait and over China offers a much more direct route to Europe, where CAL services eight destinations and EVA six.

EVA has estimated it could save at least NT$150 million (HK$36.3 million) per year on fuel by flying over China. Chinese officials also claim flying over China could cut flying time from Taiwan to Europe by up to two hours.

Overflying China would mark a further step toward opening up direct links between the sides. China has on at least two occasions in 2002 and 2003 opened its airspace to Taiwanese airlines, citing air safety concerns related to US military action in Iraq.

Pu, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's office of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, was quoted as saying China's "policy of welcoming Taiwanese airlines to fly over mainland airspace remains unchanged."

Although China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, refuses to recognize or deal directly with Taiwan's government, the island's Premier, Frank Hsieh, has authorized a local private airline association to talk to rival China about the resumption of passenger and cargo charter flights.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 07:35 PM   #176
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Taiwan's largest airline gets China's approval to use its airspace
2 September 2005
Associated Press Newswires

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan's largest airline said Friday it will become the island's first airline to fly through rival China's airspace in more than five decades.

Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd. said Beijing has approved its application to use the mainland's airspace, a month after Taiwanese Premier Frank Hsieh said he would allow the island's airlines to fly over Chinese territory.

The first Taiwanese flight to cross China's skies will be a cargo run on Monday from Taiwan's capital, Taipei, to Vienna via Abu Dhabi, China Airlines said.

The first passenger flight will fly from Taipei to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, also on Monday.

China Airlines spokesman Johnson Sun said the airline expects to fly a total of 52 flights, including both cargo and passenger flights, over China's airspace each week.

Taiwanese airlines have long avoided Chinese airspace on flights to Europe and South Asia by flying either north over Russia or south over Southeast Asia.

Direct Taiwan-China air links were suspended in 1949 when the two sides split amid civil war. Communist Beijing has repeatedly threatened war if democratic, self-governing Taiwan moves toward making its de facto independence formal and permanent.

Taiwan has resisted China's repeated invitations to reopen the air corridor across the 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile-wide) strait between the island and the mainland, citing national security reasons based on China's threats.

China Airlines has said flying over China can save the airline about 200 million New Taiwan dollars (US$6.14 million; euro4.9 million) in fuel costs each year.
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Old September 5th, 2005, 05:53 PM   #177
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Monday September 5, 10:29 PM
Taiwan Airline to Buy China Carrier Stake

AP - China Airlines Ltd., Taiwan's largest airline, said Monday it will join with two shipping companies to buy a combined 37 percent stake in mainland Chinese air cargo carrier Yangtze River Express Airlines Co.

The deal marks China Airlines' latest effort to tap into the mainland's rapidly growing cargo market, after it failed to close a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in another Chinese cargo airline after four years of negotiations.

The plan still needs the approval of the governments of Taiwan and China.

A tie-up with a Chinese carrier is the only way China Airlines can enter the China market, as China and Taiwan _ which split amid civil war in 1949 _ have never agreed on the establishment of regular direct transport links.

Despite political tensions, Taiwan and China have close commercial relations. Taiwanese companies have invested more than $100 billion in the mainland since the early 1990s and trade between the sides now exceeds $60 billion annually.

The Taiwanese airline said Monday it plans to pay $39 million for a 25 percent stake in Yangtze River Express, a wholly owned unit of China's Hainan Airlines Group.

"We want to get a share in China's expanding cargo market," said China Airlines Spokesman Johnson Sun.

In separate filings with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. and Wan Hai Lines Ltd. said they will each pay $9.4 million for 6 percent of Yangtze River.

Taiwan's Economic Daily News reported Monday the three Taiwanese firms will join hands with Cargolux Airlines International S.A. of Luxembourg to buy a combined 49 percent stake in Yangtze River.

China Airlines' Sun declined to comment on Cargolux's involvement; Cargolux's Director of Communications Marc Schonckert wasn't immediately available for comment.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:43 AM   #178
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Taiwan's EVA Airways plans cargo joint venture with China's Shanghai Airlines
13 September 2005

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan's second-largest airline, EVA Airways Corp., said Tuesday it wants to set up a cargo joint venture with China's Shanghai Airlines.

EVA spokesman K.W. Nieh said the two want to sign an agreement before the end of the year but are still discussing the capital of the new company, tentatively to be called Shanghai Airlines Cargo Co.

The Taiwanese airline aims to expand its cargo operations in the Chinese market by capitalizing on Shanghai Airlines' mainland routes, as domestic air cargo volume shrinks, Nieh said.

"We have been cooperating with them in air cargo for over two years, using Macau as a transfer point for cargo shipments from Shanghai's Pudong Airport," Nieh said.

The joint venture, to be registered in China, would allow EVA to carry even more goods from China, maybe also from Hong Kong, to Taiwan, and from Taiwan to the U.S., the EVA spokesman said.

EVA plans to team up with another, possibly Taiwanese, company to invest in the venture, Nieh said, without elaborating.

Nieh said that under Chinese law, a foreign company isn't allowed to own more than 25 percent of a Chinese company, while total foreign ownership of a Chinese company is capped at 49 percent.

"The second shareholder will be decided by Shanghai Airlines, which will hold at least 51 percent of the new company," Nieh said.

Yuanta Core Pacific Securities analyst Brandon Chen said the need for the Taiwanese and Chinese governments to approve a deal could delay the venture to early next year.

Regular direct transport links haven't existed between Taiwan and China since they split amid civil war in 1949. Passengers and cargo have to be routed through a third point, usually Hong Kong.

Nieh said EVA will seek approval for the joint venture from the island's Investment Commission after it signs a deal with Shanghai Airlines.

Last week, China Airlines Ltd., Taiwan's largest carrier, said it plans to acquire 25 percent of Yangtze River Express Airlines Co. with Taiwan's two major shipping companies.

Taiwan's air cargo volume is expected to shrink 10 percent in 2005, Nieh said, and EVA's share of Taiwan's total cargo volume is expected to drop to less than 20 percent in 2005 from 30 percent two years ago.

Taiwan's exports have been shrinking as Taiwanese manufacturers relocate their production lines to China, he said.

"In terms of market share, the deal will certainly be a good thing for EVA," said Yuanta's Chen.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:54 AM   #179
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Taiwan flies into air cargo quandary
The growth of mainland facilities threatens the island's business - unless carriers can find a foothold in China, reports Kathrin Hille.
13 September 2005
Financial Times

A plan by Taiwan's China Airlines to buy into Yangtze River Express, a small mainland air cargo services provider, will hardly get investors excited.

But the fact that the company is bothering to pursue the Rmb312.5m (Dollars 38.6m) deal throws a spotlight on the plight of Taiwan's transportation sector. China's booming air cargo market is transforming Shanghai into one of the region's biggest hubs, and Taipei's ban on direct cross-strait flights is depriving its airlines of a slice of the pie.

"Taiwan's airports are being marginalised, and a large part of our freight forwarding, trucking, warehousing and logistics industry is going to die," wars Amy Ling, an air cargo expert at the China Institute of Technology in Hsinchu.

Since China retains a threat of military force against Taiwan should the island formalise its de factoindependence, Taipei allows its airlines neither to fly into nor operate out of China.

State-controlled China Airlines and Eva Airways, its smaller rival, have still managed to grow into strong players in the air cargo market. Both ranked among the world's 10 largest cargo airlines last year. But since China started to tackle transport bottlenecks by liberalising its air cargo market, growth has moved to the one place they cannot go. Since 2003, Beijing has handed out more than 200 so-called Fifth Freedom slots, which allow international airlines to pick up cargo in China and fly it to third countries.

This has resulted in a rapid rise of Shanghai's air cargo throughput, which surpassed that of Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek International Airport this year. Morgan Stanley estimates Shanghai will become Asia's largest air cargo hub within three years.

Industry representatives and analysts warn that Taipei's ban, which makes its airlines the only ones that cannot apply for such slots, will destroy the island's transportation industry. "What are we going to do with all our aircraft?" asks Nieh Kuo-wei, vice-president at Eva Airways.

In the past, Taiwanese companies, the mainland's second-largest source of foreign direct investment, were willing to send products made in China for the US market through Taiwan, he says. Eva and China Airlines pick up such cargo from Chinese carriers in Macao or Hong Kong. "This takes one more day, but it used to be competitive because in Shanghai you would queue four or five days," says Mr Nieh. "But now, with all that additional international capacity right out of Shanghai, there is less incentive for this detour."

Taiwanese electronics manufacturers, whose products make up the lion's share of what China Airlines and Eva fly through Taiwan to the US, are moving ever-larger parts of their operations to China, decreasing the need for final assembly on the island. In the first seven months of this year, international air cargo throughput at CKS airport dropped for the first time in many years.

Taiwan's transport industry sees deals such as the planned CAL investment as the only way to soften the blow. "Teaming up with mainland carriers still poses a chance for us because they need us to build capacity, networks and know-how," says Mr Nieh.

Eva picks up US-bound cargo in Macao from Shanghai Air, which operates the mainland leg. That helps the Taiwanese airline keep some of its customers but does not generate large profits. It hopes to conclude talks to invest in the Chinese company or set up a joint venture by the end of the year.

Observers voice doubts over the benefits of such deals. "China knows how badly they need a partner on the mainland," said Ms Ling. "So it will be very hard for CAL or Eva to get good conditions and management control." The only way out would be direct flights. Taipei proposes to allow one wcargo flight a day during a one-year trial period.

Such links could divert as much as 300,000 tonnes of US-bound cargo from Shanghai to Taipei and increase Eva's operating profit by more than 50 per cent, estimates Morgan Stanley.

Even government officials admit that the administration has to act fast. "Without direct links to China, it will be very difficult to keep our competitiveness," says Tsuo Heng, a senior official at the economic planning agency.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:50 AM   #180
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Beijing favours cross-strait flights on every holiday
Regular service is ultimate target, Taiwan's James Soong told

Lillian Yang and Bill Savadove in Shanghai
16 September 2005
South China Morning Post

The mainland hopes to have chartered flights across the Taiwan Strait during all holidays, starting next year, with an eye towards establishing regular direct flights, a senior official said yesterday.

Jia Qinglin , a Politburo Standing Committee member and deputy head of the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, delivered the message at a forum in Shanghai attended by Taiwanese opposition figure James Soong Chu-yu.

"Based on the experience of charter flights during the last Lunar New Year, we hope to make cross-strait flights direct, round-trip and completely open from next year. The mainland is ready to do it," said Mr Jia, who is also chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Taiwan and the mainland offered charter flights over the Lunar New Year in February, although planes still had to pass through the airspace of a third region, such as Hong Kong.

Mr Jia also used the forum, sponsored by the Communist Party and Mr Soong's People First Party, to criticise Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and his ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which favours independence.

"Taiwanese authorities still have not given up the stance of becoming independent and are loudly advocating it. Separatist action is a practical threat, which does harm to Taiwan's economy and people's interests," he said.

Mr Jia called for flights to be extended to more cities and to include cargo transport. He urged non-governmental industry associations to promote the plan. The last round of charter flights linked Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with Taipei and Kaohsiung.

He also proposed the two sides explore more opportunities in the financial sector as well as increase co-operation on agriculture.

Mr Soong proposed that the first direct flights be between Taipei and Shanghai because of heavy passenger and cargo traffic. "It would benefit 500,000 Taiwanese businesspeople and reduce their travel costs," he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Shanghai Airlines chairman and chief executive Zhou Chi said regular flights were the ultimate goal. "Temporary and short-term charter flights are actually more difficult to arrange. We want long-term co-operation and regular schedules."

Mr Soong said future ties should focus on economics and not the potential military threat from the mainland. Beijing has threatened to use military force against Taiwan if the island moves towards independence. The PFP chairman recently opposed a US$11 billion budget proposed by the Taiwanese government for purchases of arms from the United States.
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