The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has granted five local airlines the right to serve 18 flights per week to China after the July launch of direct weekend charter flights across the Taiwan Strait, a CAA spokesman said Wednesday.
The CAA made the decision at a meeting the previous day to address the allocation of cross-strait direct flights after it suspended all international flights by Far Eastern Air Transport Corp for six months in light of the debt-ridden carrier's failure to improve its financial situation.
The five carriers - Standard Chinese Airlines, TransAsia Airways, UNI Air, China Airlines and EVA Airways - will be allocated the weekly charter flights originally allocated to FAT, the spokesman said.
For the first weekend, Standard Chinese Airlines, TransAsia Airways and UNI Air will each provide four flights, while China Airlines and EVA Airways will each operate three flights.
For the second weekend, TransAsia Airways, UNI Air and China Airlines will each run four flights, while EVA Airways and Standard Chinese Airlines will each run three flights, with subsequent rotations continuing in that order, the spokesman explained.
Regarding the busiest Taiwan-Shanghai route, the spokesman said that as the agreement on cross-strait direct flights stipulates that no more than nine flights per week will be allowed on the route, the CAA agreed to grant three carriers two weekly flights each on the route, and to grant another carrier one weekly flight on the route, with the five carriers taking turns.
Although the allocation method is somewhat complicated, it is the fairest, CAA Director-General Chang Kuo-cheng said, adding that if FAT resumes operations or if more direct flights are added, the allocations will be adjusted.
Cheng also said that airlines in Taiwan and China are required to apply for flights and routes they want to serve 15 days before they plan to begin operations, which means that those who want operate flights on the first weekend should file their applications by June 19.
Cross-strait direct weekend charter flights are scheduled to begin July 4 from Friday to Monday, with 36 flights between China and Taiwan available each week. Carriers from the two sides will each operate 18 flights.
Taiwan will open eight airports to accommodate the direct flights, including Taiwan Taoyuan international Airport and Songshan Airport in Taipei, as well as airports in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Hualien, Magong, Kinmen and Taitung.
China destinations will be Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing, with Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Dalian, Guilin and Shenzhen to be added later.
Originally published by Central News Agency website, Taipei, in English 0855 18 Jun 08.