A two-day, cross-strait aviation meeting ended in Greater Taichung yesterday, with both Taiwan and China agreeing to cap the additional flights to and from six cities in China during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays.

Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said in a statement that both sides had agreed not to set any restrictions on the total number of additional flights offered by flight carriers. Rather, both would only cap the flights to and from some of the busiest cities in China.

Taiwanese carriers can dispatch 32 additional flights to China’s Shanghai Pudong International Airport and 16 flights to Shenzhen from Jan. 20 to Feb. 17. Flights to Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou are each capped at 10 during that period, the CAA said, adding that the same rule would apply to Chinese carriers.

Taipei Songshan Airport will not be open for additional cross-strait flight services to protect the interests of domestic passengers, the CAA said. All additional cross-strait flights will be landing at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport instead.

The CAA said that both sides also agreed to launch passenger flight services to China’s Wuxi, Xuzhou, Quanzhou and Sanya. However, only charter flight services will be available during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Charter flights to and from Wuxi will only be operated by Chinese carriers because the Wuxi Airport is also a Chinese air force base, the CAA said.

According to the CAA, both sides will try to approve applications filed by both Taiwanese and Chinese carriers by Jan. 10 so that passengers can start booking flights.

The first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 3 next year.

In other news, Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said she welcomed Chinese investors to invest in her city.

Chen said during a visit by E United Group chairman Lin Yi-shou that the city was open to investment from anywhere in the world, including China, although the legislature had yet to pass relevant bills to give the green light to Chinese investment.

Chen said she welcomed all businesses that want to establish branches in Greater Kaohsiung, adding that the city government always upheld the principles of reciprocity and co-existence when interacting with the rest of the world.

"Half of the visitors to Kaohsiung nowadays are Chinese. The city government always welcomes them wholeheartedly and guarantees their safety [in the city]," Chen said.

Chen has gained momentum in the DPP by winning more than 800,000 votes in last month’s Greater Kaohsiung mayoral election.

She had said in April 2008 that she was willing to solicit investment from China for the interests of Kaohsiung.

She visited Beijing and Shanghai in May last year in her capacity as Kaohsiung mayor to promote the World Games despite criticism from a number of pro-independence groups.

Her trip to China at the time was widely interpreted as an ice-breaking trip for the DPP because Chen had been the only special municipality government chief from the party.

SOURCE: Taipei Times
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