In the deepening rapprochement between Taiwan and China, another Taiwanese carrier Mandarin Airlines launched a Kaohsiung-Shanghai service, the most recent in a series of linkages that will bring closer four Taiwanese and 12 Chinese cities.
Flying time from Kaohsiung International Airport to Shanghai Pudong Airport takes two hours and departs at 0730, while the return leg is two hours and 10 minutes, departing Shanghai at 1050.
Direct daily flights, postal and shipping services across the Taiwan Straits began on December 15 with a Shenzhen Airlines flight from Shenzhen to Taipei, followed by a TransAsia Airways flight from Taipei to Shanghai. On that day as well, China Airlines and subsidiary Mandarin Airlines inaugurated direct charter flights between Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei and Shenzhen as well as Hangzhou. The Taichung-Xiamen route was likewise carried out by Mandarin Airlines.
Air China, official flag carrier of China, which started the ball rolling as early as July flying from Beijing and Shanghai to Taipei now also connects Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing to Taipei.
With flying via Hongkong or detouring over Hongkong or Macau air space no longer necessary, travel times have been cut noticeably and Taiwan’s transport ministry estimates that local airlines and passengers will save about US$90 million a year.
Margie T Logarta