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May 28, 2017

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CAL, Chinese carriers to expand cross-strait flights

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空), Taiwan's leading international carrier, said Wednesday that it will team up with three Chinese carriers to expand the number of cross-Taiwan Strait flights to cater to the rising number of passengers amid warming ties between Taiwan and China.

CAL said it will work with China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines to raise the number of cross-strait round-trip flights to 357 per week from the current 328.

For its part, CAL will raise the number of its cross-strait flights to 152 from 129, starting from July. The carrier said it will launch new services to Changchun, Yentai, Xuzhou and Hefei from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to boost the number of its destinations in China to 32 from 28.

In addition to the new routes, CAL is planning to add flights on existing routes, including services between Taichung and Zhengzhou, Taoyuan and Lijiang, Taoyuan and Shenyang, and Taoyuan and Ningbo.

Meanwhile, CAL is also set to add flights between Taoyuan and Wenzhou, Kaohsiung and Nanchang, and Kaohsiung and Lijiang later this year.

The three Chinese carriers are also gearing up to add six round-trip flights, CAL said.

The additional flights are part of a newly reached agreement between Taiwan and China to raise the number of cross-strait flights to 828 from the current 670 per week.

CAL also kicked off new services between Songshan Airport in Taipei and Fuzhou in February.

All four carriers belong to SkyTeam, one of the world's three major airline alliances. The four have also formed a "Greater China Connection" to tap the fast-growing cross-strait transportation market. The partnership is aimed at sharing benefits such as mileage accumulation and airport lounge access, according to CAL.

Their passengers will also be able to take advantage of code-sharing, under which they can reschedule return flights via services provided by any of the four companies, CAL said.

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