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Chinese mainland, Taiwan agree on 144 charter flights
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Eleven airlines -- six from the mainland and five from Taiwan -- will operate 144 cross-Strait return flights next month, reflecting an agreement to expand charter flights that have run during four traditional festivals to every weekend.

The six mainland carriers are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Shanghai Airlines.

The Taiwan carriers are China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, EVA Air, UNI Air and TransAsia Airways, according to a notice on the website of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

Every weekend, round-trip flights will operate between five mainland cities and eight Taiwan destinations.

Most of the return flights will run on Fridays and Sundays with 67 return flights on Fridays and 40 on Sundays in July, according to the CAAC.

The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Chen Yunlin and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Chiang Pin-kun signed two agreements on flights and tourism on June 13 after the organizations resumed talks after nine years.

The two sides agreed to start weekend charter flights across the Taiwan Strait from July 4. So far, the service has only operated during four major Chinese festivals.

(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2008)

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