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Air China to start regular flights to Taiwan
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Air China will begin regular scheduled flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from Aug 31, Air China President Cai Jianjiang said Saturday.

The carrier will operate 27 return flights each week across the Taiwan Straits on six routes from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Tianjin to Taipei Taoyuan Airport, he said. He gave no fare details.

He said Taiwan's civil aviation authority granted Air China a business license on Aug 13, and Air China's Taiwan branch was established.

The announcement came after the mainland-based Civil Aviation Administration of China published a flights schedule on July 7 between the mainland and Taiwan for nine passenger air carriers and two freight air carriers.

Related readings: Air China opens Taipei office Air China cuts back on capex Air China launches Beijing-Lhasa direct flight Brazil's TAM, Air China launch code-share flight The air carriers could operate cross-Straits flights or charters between Taiwan and 27 cities on the mainland.

On April 26, the mainland and Taiwan signed an agreement in Nanjing of Jiangsu province on turning daily cross-Straits charter flights into regular flights. The number of passenger flights increased to 270 every week from 108, according to the agreement.

The mainland and Taiwan started direct air and sea transport and postal services on Dec 15 last year amid warming ties. Previously, air and sea movements, including mail, had to be routed through a third location.

On Nov 4, 2008, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan agreed to launch regular passenger charter flights across the Taiwan Straits. Before that, flights were only offered on weekends and during the country's four major traditional festivals -- the Spring Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2009)

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