Beijing and Taipei announced an agreement to allow direct flights between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland during February's lunar new year holiday. The direct charter flights operating between January 29 and February 20 will be the first such air connections between the island since 1949. The one-off deal was announced at a joint news conference in Macau. The flights will link Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with Taipei and Kaohsiung. The flights are expected to be especially popular with the estimated 500,000 Taiwan businessmen living in China, managing some of the US$100bn that Taiwan companies have invested on the mainland.