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Cross-Straits chartered flights resume
Updated: 2006-02-03 21:37

A China Eastern Airlines passenger plane took off from the Pudong Airport in Shanghai at 2:06 p.m. on Friday, marking the resumption of cross-Straits direct chartered flights after the Spring Festival holiday in Taiwan.

The passenger plane, with 244 people aboard, was heading for Taipei and will return to Shanghai Pudong Airport at 9 p.m. Friday,carrying 282 passengers.

According to Shanghai's civil aviation administration, Saturday will witness an air traffic peak in Shanghai, with six direct chartered flights shuttling between the city and Taiwan.

Direct chartered flights between Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, and Taiwan also resumed Friday.

A Boeing 737 plane of the Taiwan-based Maindrain Airlines departed Taipei at 9 a.m. on Friday and landed at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport at 11 a.m. the same day. The return flight left Guangzhou at 12:10p.m. and arrived at Taipei at 2:00 p.m. thesame day. The occupation rates on the two flights reached 80.25 percent and 96.91 percent respectively.

China Southern Airlines also operated two flights between Guangzhou and Taipei on Friday. The two flights registered an occupation rate of 44.45 percent and 73.8 percent respectively.

Friday is the first day after the Spring Festival holiday in Taiwan but people on the mainland will end their Lunar New Year holiday on Saturday.

According to an agreement reached between civil aviation associations of both sides, the direct chartered flights are scheduled to run from Jan. 20 through to Feb. 13 this year. Six mainland airlines and six Taiwan-based airlines are approved to fly the charter flights.

In all, there will be 72 round-trip flights, compared with 48 in 2005. For the first time, the chartered flights this year will serve all Taiwan residents bearing valid travel documents across the Straits, including tourists and students. Previously, they served mainly businessmen.

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