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First Cross-Straits Flights for Dragon Boat Festival Conclude
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Flight GE301/2 of Taiwan's Transasia Airways completed a round flight between Taipei and Shanghai on Friday, ending the cross-Straits flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan for the Dragon Boat Festival.

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan launched cross-Straits charter flights for the Dragon Boat Festival for the first time on June 12.

Five mainland airline companies including Air China and six Taiwan companies including China Airlines undertook 21 round flights from June 15 to June 22, according to the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China.

Among the mainland cities, 14 round flights were completed in Shanghai, four in Xiamen, two in Guangzhou and one in Beijing.

"People on neither side have official holidays for the Dragon Boat Festival, but the seat occupancy rate is still high," Xinhua learned from the administration.

"Taiwan businessmen on the mainland and their relatives booked many seats, as well as a lot of Taiwan tourists sightseeing or visiting relatives," according to the administration.

During Xinhua's interviews with Taiwan passengers, many said charter flights at festival times were not enough and expressed their hope that charter flights would soon become regular flights.

The first non-stop charter flights across the Taiwan Straits were launched during the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2005. Prior to that there had not been direct air links across the Taiwan Straits for more than five decades.

In June 2006, the mainland and Taiwan agreed to open charter flights for other traditional festivals, including Tomb-sweeping Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-autumn Festival.

The first cross-Straits charter flights for Mid-autumn Festival and Tomb-sweeping Festival occurred in October 2006 and April 2007 respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2007)

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