[photopress:air_taipei_ma_ying_jeou_640.jpg,full,alignright]Taiwan President-elect Ma Ying-jeou (shown here) has tentatively set July 4 for launching weekend charter flights with the mainland as part of his plan to improve ties.
The National Policy Foundation, a think tank of Ma’s Nationalist Party or Kuomintang, said in a recent report that it had completed the direct weekend charter plan.
The service would begin taking passengers from the mainland for the weekend and carrying them back on Monday noon.
Chen Shih-yi, a foundation spokesman, said Ma had instructed that the service be started from July 4, and be extended to Chinese tourists coming to Taiwan for vacation after Beijing and Taipei work out an agreement.
Ma, a mainland-friendly politician who won a landslide victory in last month’s presidential election, has vowed to further open up the island to the mainland and forge direct transport link in 2009 after he assumes office on May 20.
Chen said Taiwan will open its international airports in Taoyuan in the north, Taichung in central Taiwan and Kaohsiung in the south for charter services. Flight points from the mainland will include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen.