|A jet plane is seen ready to take off, heading to Kaohsiung, southeast China's Taiwan, from Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, March 12, 2013. It's the first non-stop commercial flight route from Xinjiang to Taiwan. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)|
URUMQI, March 12 (Xinhua) -- China Southern Airlines on Tuesday opened a direct air route linking the mainland's Urumqi and Taiwan's Kaohsiung City.
It is the first route linking northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Taiwan, and also the longest route between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
The maiden flight CZ6053, carrying 180 passengers, took off from Urumqi International Airport at 5:13 p.m. and will arrive in Kaohsiung five and a half hours later, according to a branch of China Southern Airlines in Xinjiang.
The return flight will depart from Kaohsiung at 11:55 p.m. with 143 Taiwanese passenger on board, the branch said.
As Xinjiang and Taiwan have made great efforts to strengthen their economic exchanges and develop tourism in recent years, the two regions have seen an increasing number of visitors and investors from each region.
It is estimated that about 30,000 people will travel from Xinjiang to Taiwan in 2013.
On April 1, China Southern Airlines will open a direct route linking Urumqi and Taipei, and tickets for this service will go on sale soon, the branch said.
China's weekly story (2013.2.28-3.8)
Art schools exams in Chinese style
Yao Ming, the CPPCC Member
Eye-catching girls taking arts school exams
Foxes seek food from oil workers in Xinjiang
Cool Chinese female airplane captains
'Fresh style' in Chinese cities
The best partners during ‘two sessions’
Daily life of female airborne security guard