Cross-Straits flights to increase during Spring Festival
The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have agreed to arrange more flights across the Straits during the coming Spring Festival to ensure people on both sides can return home for family reunions during the Chinese New Year, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Wednesday.
As Taiwan’s political situation has changed this year, relevant departments from both sides of the Straits did not hold regular communication meetings to reinforce cooperation of civil aviation transport, Ma said at a regular news conference.
“However, considering people’s need to make holiday arrangements and their wishes to return home for the holiday, civil aviation departments have arranged more flights during the Spring Festival through the exchange of letters,” he said.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, both parties have agreed to increase the number of flights between Jan 14 and Feb 11. To cater to the needs of people and airline companies, no upper limit is set for the total increase in number of flights.
However, as the Chinese mainland’s airspace is tight, some busy airports will set a limit for the number of extra flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, such as Beijing Capital International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
The first group of increased flights will be authorized before Dec 14 to enable travelers to plan their trips in advance, the administration said on Tuesday.
In June, communication between official organizations across the Straits was suspended.
Liu Xiangping, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University, said that the only way to resume communication is for Taiwan to recognize the 1992 Consensus. “But people-to-people communication cannot be cut off.”
Li Weiyi, dean of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Beijing Union University, said, “Although political foundations have been sabotaged, the goal of maintaining people’s welfare has never changed.”
He said Taiwan and the Chinese mainland opened direct flights in 2008, and even before then, the latter strove to serve people from both sides.