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Cross-Straits flight leaves Shanghai for Taipei

  SHANGHAI, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The first flight of the second northern direct air route linking the Chinese mainland and Taiwan left Shanghai for Taipei at 10:42 a.m. Wednesday.

  The flight was carried out by Taiwan TransAsia Airways.

  Two cross-Straits direct flight routes linking the Chinese mainland and Taiwan were launched at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, adding the total to three.

  The Chinese mainland and Taiwan started direct air and sea transport and postal services on Dec. 15 last year, ending a 59-year ban on such links. Previously, air and sea movements -- including mail -- had to reroute through a third location.

  The first direct cross-Straits flight route cut flight time significantly as planes are no longer required to fly through Hong Kong's airspace.