A senior official on Wednesday said the mainland hopes round-trip cross-Strait charter flight services will be extended beyond festivals periods.
Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said, "Regular direct cross-Strait flights serve the fundamental interests of compatriots across the Taiwan Strait."
He said the cross-Strait charter flights for the Mid-Autumn Festival will last from Sept. 29 to Oct. 13, according arrangements reached by non-governmental aviation industry associations in June. Similar charter flights have been arranged for other festival weeks during the year.
Outside festival occasions airline passengers are required by Taiwan authorities to take a circuitous route to the mainland by flying through Hong Kong, which adds many hours to the flight.
The mainland and Taiwan both have six airline companies that are permitted to provide services for the Mid-Autumn Festival cross-Strait charter flight, Li said.
The 24 round-trip, cross-Straits charter flights that begin later this week will provide service to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Taipei.
The mainland's civil aviation administration has required its airlines and airports to prepare for the upcoming festival flights, said Li, adding that tickets are selling well.
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2006)