Cross-Taiwan Strait flights have gained greater popularity, with the average passenger load of Taiwan-based carriers hitting 88.6%, while the average for Mainland-based airlines reached 76%.
Apart from passengers who are Taiwan businessmen working on the Mainland, aviation industry sources said Mainland tourists coming to Taiwan on tour groups also accounted for a large share of the business.
The sources attributed the development to the launching of daily charter flights between Taiwan and the Mainland last December and to the increased exchanges amid improving two-way ties since President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in May 2008.
To cope with the increasing popularity of the flights, China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest carrier, has dispatched more large airplanes to serve cross-strait flights, while EVA Airways, Taiwan’s second-largest carrier, has decided to resume its connection flights between the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in the north and the Kaohsiung International Airport in the south in response to the demand from southern Taiwan’s passengers.
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lee Lung-wen said Taiwan’s aviation companies have asked for government permission to increase the number of cross-strait flights, hopefully by July, before regularly scheduled commercial cross-strait flights are launched.
Five Taiwan-based carriers and seven Mainland-based aviation companies operated nonstop charters during the first week of the non-stop charter service, which kicked off on Dec. 15, 2008.
Taiwanese carriers provided round-trip flights to 13 destinations on the Mainland during the first week of operations, while their Chinese counterparts flew to four destinations in Taiwan. The two sides operated a total of 108 charter flights per week.
Taiwan News reported that meanwhile, the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan has also been on the rise.