Taiwan, China agree on direct charter flights (holidays only)

It’s still a hugely important step toward ending the stupid ban on direct flights between the countries, which hurt only the average citizen.

Taiwan and China said Wednesday they’ve agreed to launch direct charter passenger flights between them during major holidays, a key trust-building step toward restoring regular direct flights cut five decades ago amid civil war.

Negotiators have also reached a ”tentative consensus” on allowing Taiwanese companies to use special chartered cargo flights to fly goods and equipment between the two sides, said Joseph Wu, chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council.

In Beijing, China’s General Administration of Civil Aviation said the rivals agreed ”on the framework of chartered flights for festivals and special cases,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The announcement was a major development for the two sides, whose relations are usually characterized by bickering over abstract sovereignty disputes. Although they’ve allowed chartered passenger flights before, the service has been inconsistent and limited to the Lunar New Year — the biggest Chinese holiday.

The new charter flights would serve four annual holidays: Lunar Chinese New Year, Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid Autumn Festival, said Wu, Taiwan’s top official for China policy. Practical arrangements still have to be worked out, but he expected holiday flights would begin for the Mid Autumn Festival, which falls on Oct. 6 this year.

Great news. Maybe something good will yet come out of Chen Sui Bian’s rule.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

This is great news for what it may portend about the future of air travel between the two.

June 15, 2006 @ 12:53 am | Comment

Perhaps more would be accomplished if MAC’s budget wasn’t partly frozen by the KMT in the Yuan…..

June 15, 2006 @ 1:01 am | Comment

I find it ridiculous that “direct” flights are still required by Taiwan to fly over Hong Kong airspace, even if the flight is from neighbouring Fujian Province!

I can understand the original security rationale for blocking actual direct flights, but it must be frustrating for Taiwanese businessmen that their “direct” flights are so ridiculously roundabout.

June 16, 2006 @ 3:43 am | Comment

I’m all for Taiwanese independence (as long as that’s what the people want; I’m not going to force it on anyone), but I have to agree that this is really a stupid unnecessary inconvenience that only causes trouble for both parties. Another particularly bad move I think Taiwan has made is not to recognize university degrees from China. If a Taiwanese person were to go to a Chinese university, they basically have no choice other then to find employment in China or come back to Taiwan, still nothing more then a High School graduate. I think that Taiwan is loosing some of it’s better minds that way, or at least loosing people who could potentially provide incite into the way people are thinking in China.

June 16, 2006 @ 9:50 am | Comment

I have to agree with you here Darin. As others have pointed out, Taiwan doesn’t have any unversities with world rankings as high as, say Tsinghua or Peking University — and it would directly help Taiwan to have more experts on Mainland China.

Most of Chen’s anti-unification measures — like increasing restrictions on inventment in the Mainland — have really worked against Taiwanese interests.

But hey, it looks like the light is at the end of the tunnel — it looks like the presidency is Ma Jing Yeo’s to lose in the next election.

June 16, 2006 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

Completely agree. I’ve always said it’s the people of Taiwan who have to pay the price for their government’s intransigence and stupidity when it comes to anything dealing with the PRC, from the lack of direct flights to the unwillingness to recognize Chinese university degrees, even to the kind of pinyuin they use (causing unnecessary confusion to those who don”t read hanzi). All for the sake of political posturing, in direct opposition to what’s best for its people.

June 16, 2006 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

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