Thursday, December 12, 2013, 08:08
Flights between Taiwan, mainland to see increase
By Wang Ying and Xie Yu in Shanghai

More charter flights will fly between the mainland and Taiwan during the coming Spring Festival break as the cross-Straits relationship warms and economic ties become closer.

Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a news conference on Wednesday that there will be no cap on the total number of direct cross-Straits flights from Jan 17 to Feb 14.

The no-cap policy, agreed to by civil aviation authorities on both sides of the Straits, is expected to benefit travelers, as a great number of flight routes will be added in some cities.

Between Taiwan and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, airlines will add 210 flights, twice the number in the past Lunar New Year holiday, Fan said.

So far, more specific information on the holiday flight schedules have not come out, according to a spokesman for China Eastern Airlines.

But this year, with the participation of two more airlines, the price of plane tickets between the mainland and Taiwan is likely to drop.

Spring Airlines Co, the nation’s only budget carrier, and Juneyao Airlines Co both announced recently the launch of direct flights between Shanghai and Taipei.

Both carriers have applied to launch chartered flights during Spring Festival.

“The Civil Aviation Administration of China is reviewing our application at the moment,” said Zhang Wu’an, spokesman for Spring Airlines.

The budget carrier said it intends to lower traveling costs between Shanghai and Taiwan, even during the Spring Festival.

Spring Airlines currently offers tickets between the two cities with prices 30 to 40 percent lower than the market average. On its website, the ticket price is as low as 430 yuan ($70).

“Due to high ticket prices and the short flight distance, flights across the Straits are one of the most profitable routes for Chinese airlines,” said Li Lei, an industrial analyst with Minzu Securities, a brokerage firm based in Beijing.

Contact the writers at wang_ying@chinadaily.com.cn and xieyu@chinadaily.com.cn