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Air China to start scheduled flights to Taiwan
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Air China will begin regular scheduled flights between China's mainland and Taiwan from Aug. 31, Air China President Cai Jianjiang said Saturday.

The carrier will operate 27 return flights each week across the Taiwan Strait on six routes from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Tianjin to Taipei Taoyuan Airport, he said. He gave no fare details.

He said Taiwan's civil aviation authority granted Air China a business license on Aug. 13, and Air China's Taiwan branch was established.

The announcement came after the mainland-based Civil Aviation Administration of China published a flights schedule on July 7 between the mainland and Taiwan for nine passenger air carriers and two freight air carriers.

The air carriers could operate cross-Strait fights or charters between Taiwan and 27 cities on the mainland.

On April 26, the mainland and Taiwan signed an agreement in Nanjing of Jiangsu Province on turning daily cross-Strait charter flights into regular flights. The number of passenger flights increased to 270 every week from 108, according to the agreement.

The mainland and Taiwan started direct air and sea transport and postal services on Dec. 15 last year amid warming ties. Previously, air and sea movements, including mail, had to be routed through a third location.

On Nov. 4, 2008, the mainland and Taiwan agreed to launch regular passenger charter flights across the Taiwan Strait. Before that, flights were only offered on weekends and during the country's four major traditional festivals -- the Spring Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2009)

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