With improving relations between Taiwan and China, two new routes for direct flights were opened this week across the Taiwan Strait.
The first direct air link between the two countries was launched last December 15.
The move increases the number of air lanes between the two countries to three, which would allow for more direct flights in the future.
The new northern route, named B591, shortens travel time by about 24 minutes, while the new southern route, R200, shaves about five minutes off the flight time.
First to use the new air lanes were Air China flight 185, flying the northern B591 route from Beijing to Taipei, and China Southern Airlines flight 3097, using the southern R200 route from Guangzhou to Taipei.
The two new direct routes were launched to comply with a supplementary accord on cross-strait air links that was signed on April 26 this year in Nanjing.
The agreement stipulated for the introduction of more scheduled flights across the Taiwan Strait as soon as possible. Specifically, China is to add six cities to the 21 now open to regular scheduled flights, while Taiwan will increase its cross-strait service airports to eight.
Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines has announced that it will expand its China-Taiwan network to 13 Chinese cities including Changsha, Dalian, Guiyang, Guilin, Haerbin, Haikou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xiamen and Zhengzhou. The airline now operates 27 weekly flights across the Taiwan Strait.