In anticipation of the greater need following the imminent permission for Chinese free independent travelers to visit Taiwan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have agreed to increase the number of their weekly flights by 28 for each side, effective from June, at the earliest.
The new air pact between Taiwan and Hong Kong will open the flight route to new participants, and Hainan Airlines is expected to ply the route via its Hong Kong subsidiary, thereby becoming the first mainland Chinese airline to undertake both direct cross-Taiwan Strait flights and transit flights via Hong Kong.
On top of the new 28 flights, both sides will add seven extra flights from the summer, thereby boosting the total number of flights for Taiwan-Hong Kong route to 410 a week, up from 340 now.
The new air pact will be signed this month and take effect from June. It will be signed via semi-official bodies of both sides, rather than airlines themselves as in the past. Presently, Taiwan and Hong Kong airlines plying the route are granted a specific number of flights on a non-transferrable basis. Under the new pact, the number of flights will be allocated by both sides themselves and there is no restriction on new participants for the route.
Hong Kong Express Airways, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, will be able to provide regular flight service between Hong Kong and Taiwan, after having undertaken Hong Kong-Taichung charter flights for years.
Civil Aeronautics Administration, under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), will decide whether to allow a third airline to join China Airlines and Eva Airways to fly the route after reviewing their operational plans.
In 2010, the number of cross-Strait personnel exchange topped 6.38 million person/trips, including 4.749 million from Taiwan to mainland China and 1.631 million from mainland China to Taiwan. Many of travelers still transit via Hong Kong, despite the availability of direct flights.


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