Airlines across the Taiwan Strait hope to have a direct exchange of ideas on the launch of charter flights for the traditional Qingming Festival as soon as possible, said an official with the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council in Beijing on Friday.
"We hope airlines in both sides of the straits can reach consensus on the issue by referring to the experience of the Spring Festival charter flights, so as to meet the demands of Taiwan compatriots," said Tang Yi, deputy director of the economic bureau of the office, at a press conference.
The Qingming Festival, falling on April 5, is a traditional holiday for the people of Chinese ancestry to cherish the memory of the dead or worship their forefathers.
"We hope that charter flights can be operated on a regular basis in all major holidays. Fixed passenger flights are expected to be run as soon as possible to link Chinese mainland areas where business people from major cities in Taiwan live in compact communities," Tang said.
Passengers for charter flights should not be confined only to Taiwan businessmen and their families, but include people to and fro the straits with legal permits, Tang said.
The two sides of the Taiwan straits carried their first non-stop round-trip charter flights in 56 years during this Spring Festival. Statistics show that 10,771 Taiwan business people and their families took 96 charter flights, with 48 by airlines from each side of the straits, home and back to work by Feb. 20.
(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2005)