The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) has set the schedule for charter flights between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland for the coming Lunar New Year, the Spring Festival.
Six mainland and six Taiwanese airlines will fly a total of 96 round trips, mainly in the periods from Feb. 13 to 26 and from Feb. 23 to 26, according to the schedule.
The Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 18 this year, is the most important occasion for family reunions in Chinese culture.
The mainland airports in the program are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, while the airports in Taiwan are Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Tickets from the 12 airlines had almost been sold out, according to CAAC.
Mainland and Taiwanese airlines operated 72 non-stop charter flights during the Spring Festival last year, carrying 27,000 passengers.
The previous year, 5,877 passengers took Spring Festival charter flights.
Charter flights, arranged after talks between civil aviation
associations of both sides, are most desired by Taiwanese on the mainland in the absence of regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait.
The first non-stop charter flights across the Strait were launched during the Chinese Lunar New Year in 2005.
Cross-Strait charter flights were also available last year for Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and is also a time for family reunions.
The Chinese mainland has called for regular cross-Strait charter flight services that extend beyond festival periods.
By the end of October last year, a total of 71,027 Taiwan-funded projects were approved by the mainland, while the total actual use of Taiwan capital reached 43.46 billion U.S. dollars.