Straits Narrow for Spring Festival

In the first joint effort between the mainland and Taiwan airlines, more flights will be available from Shanghai to Taiwan via Macao for the Spring Festival.

The new flights will accommodate Taiwan businessmen working in Shanghai, said Fan Hongxi, president of Shanghai Airlines. "With the increase of Taiwan compatriots coming to the city, current flights are far from meeting the demand," said Fan.

China Sunrise International Travel Service, Taiwan Dynasty International Travel, Haixiaton Express Company and Shanghai Strait Exchange Company, have increased flights from Shanghai to Taiwan via Macao to help more Taiwanese return home for the Spring Festival, which falls on February 12.

Ten weekly flights will be added to the current four daily flights from February 8-12, totalling 42 flights a week, sources from Shanghai Airline said.

By joining with Taiwan-based TransAsia Airways, Shanghai Airlines is practising "one-ticket service," which means that Shanghai passengers don't have to deal with luggage when they transfer planes in Macao.

"It will take them at most, one hour, before they leave Macao Airport," said Gu Jiadan, manager of the Shanghai Airlines Commercial Department.

"Due to limited flights, many Taiwan compatriots couldn't return to Taiwan before the festival," said Ye Huide, president of Shanghai Taiwan Compatriots Investment Enterprises Association.

"It is impossible for them to order tickets two or three months ahead of time. When they fix the date two weeks ahead, tickets are already sold out," Ye said.

Some had to spend the festival in Shanghai and others left on the first or second day of the Lunar New Year.

Shanghai Airlines will use Boeing-757s on the route and flights bound from Shanghai for Macao will be fixed at 25 a week from February 13 to March 30. "Whether or not to increase flights depends on market demand," Fan said.

( China Daily January 24, 2002)

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