Non-stop from China to China

VON Dr. Wolf SiegertZUM Montag Letzte Bearbeitung: 16. Januar 2005 um 22 Uhr 20 Minuten


Vielleicht sollte dieser Text erst am 29. Januar hier verlegt werden.
Vielleicht wird es schon wegen dieses Titels Schelte geben: sei’s drum.
Dass es anlässlich des diesjährigen Neujahrs-Festes erstmals Direktverbindungen geben wird zwischen "Mainland China" und Taiwan ist eine Meldung, die durchaus vergleichbar mit der Entscheidung, dass nunmehr Verwandtenbesuche von Westdeutschen in der DDR erleichtert werden würden. Auch wenn dieser Vergleich "hinkt": sei’s drum.
Zu viel erinnert an all die Umstände und Komplikationen, die es einst hier zu überwinden gab. [1]
Selbst das Konzept der 3 Luftkorridore die einst die Einflugmöglichkeiten nach Berlin begrenzten taucht wieder auf: denn auch alle Direktflüge nach Taipei und Kaohsiung werden über die Luftraum in Hong Kong "zwangsumgeleitet".

Non-stop flights, historic opening
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-16 23:16

Mainland commercial planes will land and take off on Taiwan for the first time in 56 years this month under a landmark agreement on direct cross-Straits charter flights for the upcoming Spring Festival.

While business circles and mainland-based Taiwan business people expressed their delight with the deal, Taiwan studies experts hailed its potential significance for improving cross-Straits ties.

After a two-hour meeting in Macao on Saturday, civil aviation negotiators from both sides reached a consensus on launching the two-way, non-stop charter flights. Planes will take off beginning January 29, with flights continuing through February 20.

The agreement allows six mainland and six Taiwanese airlines to operate a total of 48 round-trip charter flights to carry mainland-based Taiwanese business leaders home and back during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

The charter flights will be the first direct air links across the Taiwan Straits since Taipei banned transport, trade and postal links between the mainland back in 1949.

Taiwanese negotiator Lo Ta-hsin, chairman of the Taipei Airlines Association, told reporters the charter planes will not fly directly across the 160-kilometre Taiwan Straits, but will pass through Hong Kong air space. They will not have to touch down there, however.

Pu Zhaozhou, head of the mainland delegation and executive director of the China Civil Aviation Association, said the flights will connect the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou with Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

The charter flights, however, are allowed to carry only Taiwanese business people working on the mainland and their relatives this Spring Festival, which falls this year on February 9.

About 1 million Taiwanese business people and their family members are estimated to work and live on the mainland and hundreds of thousands of them typically return to the island for the holiday.

This year’s model for "non-stop, round-trip, multi-destination flights by carriers on both sides" contrasted with an indirect charter flight programme in 2003.

Then, only six Taiwanese airlines were allowed to operate 16 charter flights, with an inconvenient stopover in Hong Kong or Macao.

Wu Nengyuan, director of the Institute of Modern Taiwan Studies at the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences, spoke highly of the cross-Straits agreement’s "positive impact" on bilateral relations.

"The direct charter flight deal has fully demonstrated the inevitable trend of close personal exchanges and economic links across the Straits," he said.

"It may, to some degree, help check Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian’s attempt to cut off cross-Straits bonds in a bid to alienate the island from the mainland."

The researcher noted that the mainland’s pragmatic and flexible attitude during the talks had contributed to reaching the agreement.

"It suggests that there always will be potential opportunity for improving cross-Straits ties, as long as both sides are willing to show sincerity," Wu said.

But he cautioned that the current stalemate in cross-Straits relations will not be broken unless Chen abandons his Taiwan independence push.

Chen Kuo-yuan, secretary-general of Beijing Association for Taiwanese Enterprises, said that although the charter flight agreement should have come earlier, it is of great significance for both sides of the Straits.

Chen added that he will be happy to take the historic flight by a mainland airplane to Taiwan for the first time in more than five decades.

"Given little time for preparation before the first flights on January 29, our association will co-ordinate other Taiwanese enterprise groups in neighbouring Tianjin and Hebei to arrange the travel plans for Taiwanese business people," he said.

Cross-straits jets ready for take-off
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-16 23:01

Airlines from the Chinese mainland are gearing up to operate charter flights across the Taiwan Straits following a landmark deal inked on Saturday.

Air carriers — including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines — confirmed to China Daily that they are all interested in conducting flights although they have not yet been given nod from the nation’s industry watchdog.

"We have made full preparations for non-stop, round-trip charters, including market investigations, crew arrangements and air services," Cai Zhizhou, an official from the China Southern Airlines said yesterday.

Further negotiations about ground services, air control and air routes are to be held with related departments in Taiwan, said Cai with the Guangzhou-based airlines in South China’s Guangdong Province.

So far, which airlines will be designated to operate the charter flights is still not known. But insiders have listed Air China, China Southern, Xiamen Airlines and China Eastern as possible candidates from the mainland.

Taiwan airlines could include China Airlines, EVA Air, TransAsia Airways and Far East Air Transport Corp, Mandarin Airlines and UNI Airways Corp, according to Taiwan media reports.

If approved, China Eastern will use 300-seat Airbus A340-600 aircraft to carry passengers, said Luo Chaogeng, the airlines’ president.

As a pilot with 32 years of flying experiences, Luo hopes to fly the first non-stop flight to Taiwan with his colleagues.

Zhang Huilin, an official from the Xiamen Airlines headquartered in East China’s Fujian Province, said her company feels it is "a great pity" that Taiwan has refused to make Xiamen a destination — which was included in the mainland’s charter flight plan proposal.

Zhang’s airlines has been negotiating with its Taiwanese counterpart TransAsia Airways over the charter flights for several years, but got no response from the Taiwan authorities.

It has won the approval to fly over Hong Kong’s air traffic control area for its planned direct charter flights across the Taiwan Straits, said Zhang.

According to Zhang, the air ticket price will be around 4,000 yuan (US$480) from Beijing to Taipei and 3,000-plus yuan (US$360) from Shanghai to Taipei for the direct flights, saving one-fourth the ticket expense.

"Four hours will also be saved from the trip with the direct flight," Zhang said.


[1Der Verfasser hat selber an dem ersten heute historisch zu nennenden Flug einer Lufthansa-Maschine über dem ehemaligen Hoheitsgebiet der DDR teilgenommen, der nicht mehr durch die Korridore eingeschränkt worden ist.

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