Mainland urges DPP to resume normal operations of more direct cross-Straits flights
Published: Feb 22, 2023 07:08 PM
Zhu Fenglian Photo: Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council

Zhu Fenglian Photo: Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council

With the epidemic being well controlled on the Chinese mainland at present, the mainland has urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities in Taiwan to resume normal operations of direct cross-Straits flights to benefit compatriots on both sides, according to Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, on Wednesday.

Compatriots on both sides of the Straits and the airline industry are eager for the full resumption of direct flights across the Taiwan Straits, Zhu said. 

So far, four passenger routes of "mini three links" have all resumed service, making cross-Straits travel more convenient for residents from Kinmen and Matsu, both outlying islands in the Taiwan Straits. Since the passenger routes resumed on January 7, a total of 62 round-trips have been operated, safely facilitating 6,715 passenger visits, according to China's Ministry of Transport on Wednesday.

At 10 am on Sunday, Jishun No.9 ferry carrying 59 passengers set sail for the passenger terminal in Lianjiang county and returned to Matsu at 12:30 am on the same day. 

Since the official launch of the passenger routes in 2001, 217,000 trips have been operated safely, transporting 22.08 million passenger trips, according to the authorities.

On February 1, the mainland aviation authorities urged the island to prioritize the resumption of direct flights to 16 mainland destinations, including South China's Guangzhou. A response has yet to be received, according to Zhu.

The mainland strongly supports airline industry on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to significantly increase flights across the Straits, and airlines are allowed to dynamically optimize flight arrangements independently, Zhu said.

A total of 214 passenger flights were operated between February 13 and 19, up from about 100 in a week before January 8, the spokesperson said. However, compared with the maximum of 890 scheduled weekly flights before 2020, the current capacity is insufficient to meet the needs of both sides, Zhu noted.

Under the unilateral restrictions imposed by the DPP authorities, there are only four direct flight destinations in the mainland - Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu, so that the cross-Straits exchanges are still quite inconvenient generally, Zhu noted.