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Cross-Straits Charter Flights Added for Spring Festival
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There will be 48 direct charter flights between four cities on the mainland and two in Taiwan during the coming Lunar New Year holiday, according to China's General Administration of Civil Aviation.

Round trip flights will be operated by six mainland airlines from Feb. 5, to March 2. Spring Festival falls on Feb. 18.

The six airlines, which will each offer two more flights than last Spring Festival holiday, will fly between the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen on the mainland and Taipei and Gaoxiong in Taiwan.

Eight charter flights were allocated to Air China, 12 to China Eastern, eight to China Southern, six to Hainan Airlines, eight to Shanghai Airlines and six to Xiamen Airlines.

Shanghai-based China Eastern airlines will operate its charter flights between Shanghai and Taipei from Feb. 14 to Feb. 26. Shanghai Airlines will fly its charter flights between Shanghai and Taipei and Kaohsiung.

Guangzhou-based China Southern announced on Tuesday it will fly four charter planes between Guangzhou and Taipei on Feb. 15 and 16, and return on Feb. 23 and 24.

Taiwan residents are expected to be able to book tickets in January. Air fares have yet to be announced.

Cross-strait charter flights with stopovers in Hong Kong or Macao were first launched for Spring Festival holiday in 2003 and direct charter flights were introduced in 2005.

The first Mid-Autumn Festival charter flights last September marked the extension of the cross-Strait charter flight service, which had been restricted only to the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

(China Daily December 7, 2006)

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