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Taipei mayor calls for more cross-strait flights

TAIPEI -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin called on China yesterday to open more routes and increase the frequency of flights to Taipei to meet strong demand for air travel across the Taiwan Strait.

Such expansion will also help lower ticket prices and increase exchanges between Taipei and major cities on the mainland, Hau said during a luncheon with Chen Deming, China's top negotiator with Taiwan.

The mayor said that since direct air links were launched between Taipei Songshan Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, tickets for the route have been selling like hot cakes, with prices remaining high.

He noted that an occupancy rate of over 90 percent was recorded when two low-cost Chinese air carriers, Spring Airlines and Juneyao Airlines, launched their inaugural flights to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday.

This demonstrates that there is high market demand for flights across the Taiwan Strait, Hau said.

Chen, who is president of China's semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), is leading a trade delegation from China on his first visit to Taiwan since assuming his post in April.

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