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Authority licences 16 airlines to operate direct cross-strait flights

  BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese mainland's civil aviation authority has licensed 16 airline companies from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to operate regular direct flights between the mainland and the island from the end of this month.

  The mainland's airlines will operate regular direct flights from 25 mainland destinations to Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport from Aug. 31, and Fuzhou and Nanchang cities will operate chartered flights to the island's Songshan Airport, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CACC) said Friday.

  Taiwan-based airlines will start regular direct or chartered fights from Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung to the mainland.

  The flights from Taipei's Taoyuan Airport and Kaohsiung Airport to Beijing will be regularly scheduled flights. Taichung and Songshan airports will operate chartered flights to the mainland.

  The CACC says there will be 270 direct flights and 32 regular flight routes between the mainland and Taiwan every week from September. And there will be daily flights between eight mainland cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Ningbo, and Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport.

  Regular direct flights from 16 mainland cities to Taiwan will take off on Aug. 31. Regular flights from nine other cities will begin in the following week.

  The commencement of regular direct flights implements a series of agreements between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan earlier this year.

  In April this year, the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) signed three cooperation agreements in Nanjing, capital of the east Jiangsu Province.

  The two parties agreed to begin regular flights, boost cooperation in finance and cracking down on crime, realizing a decades-long aspiration for comprehensive, direct and reciprocal links between the two sides.