TransAsia Airways, a Taiwan-based mid-sized international carrier, launched flights to Sanya City in China’s Hainan Province Thursday, eyeing the booming tourism business across the Taiwan Strait.

TransAsia now offers two services between Taoyuan and Sanya a week, one on Monday and the other on Thursday, the carrier said.

The carrier said Sanya, located in the southernmost tip of Hainan, is known as the“Hawaii of the Orient" and is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the province.

According to TransAsia, as Sanya also serves as a popular location for trade shows, the number of passengers handled by Sanya Phoenix International Airport for 2011 rose by about 73 percent from 2008 to 10.36 million.

The carrier also said it has also launched an eight-day group tour package that combines Sanya and Macau.

Currently, TransAsia provides services to 13 mainland cities, including Shanghai, Xiamen, Tianjin, Chongqing and Hangzhou, to provide customers with access to tourist sites in northern, central, eastern, southern and western China.

The carrier said the routes to these mainland cities account for about 30 percent of its revenue — worth NT$9.06 billion (US$303 million) in 2011, and added that the average load capacity of each flight to China exceeds 80 percent.

TransAsia said it will continue to seek new mainland destinations as cross-strait air services have become an important revenue source to Taiwanese carriers.




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