Holiday Flights Begin Between Taiwan, China

Direct charter flights from Taiwan to mainland China have begun for the Lunar New Year holiday season, under an agreement between the diplomatic rivals to temporarily allow non-stop air travel.

A plane with Taiwan's biggest carrier, China Airlines, arrived in Shanghai Friday from Taipei.

Six airlines from each side will operate 72 flights across the Taiwan Strait. The service will connect the mainland Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen with Taipei and Kaohsiung on Taiwan until February 7.

This is the second year that Beijing and Taipei have allowed the holiday flights. Last year, flights were limited to Taiwan business people living on the mainland. This year, the flights include Taiwan tourists.

At other times of year, travelers must connect through other airports, usually Hong Kong.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters