Taiwan said it was willing to consider the resumption of direct charter flights to China in time for the February Lunar New Year holiday. The island's Mainland Affairs Council said it had appointed an industry group to hold talks with China after meeting with Taiwan airline executives. The first charter flights between Taipei and Shanghai in 2003 were required to stop over in Hong Kong or Macau. However, plans to resume the flights for the 2004 Lunar New Year collapsed after Taiwan insisted the flights be called international instead of domestic. Taiwan-based businesses, have more than US$100bn invested in China and have long been pressing for progress in cutting what is currently at least a five-hour journey through third countries. Flying direct would take 90 minutes or less.
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