Interactive links between Taiwan and Hong Kong have taken a further step forward with the coming into force of a new air pact this January. In addition to increasing two-way flights and air freight volumes, the agreement allows more domestic airports to apply to provide “special charter flights” between Taiwan and Hong Kong. These terms will enhance the facility of two-way travel and trade, and are expected to inject vitality into tourism and economic activity in the two signatories.
This is another important air pact for Taiwan, following the conclusion of flight agreements with Japan and Singapore. According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, under the pact’s provision for increasing flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong, the average weekly number of flights in each direction on this route has increased from 170 to 205 since the end of March, while weekly freight capacity in each direction is up from 1,700 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes.
In addition to the airports that already serve fixed routes between Taiwan and Hong Kong, the new air pact also allows airports in Taichung, Tainan, Hualien, Taitung, Magong and Kinmen apply to provide “special charter flights” that are managed in the same way as regular flights, up to 28 per week at each airport.
Moreover, in line with the general practice for international air agreements, the new Taiwan-Hong Kong pact only regulates total capacities, and no longer specifies the names, number of flights and capacities of the carriers that can operate the routes concerned. In the future, these routes and their operating rights will be allocated to carriers by the civil aeronautics authorities on each side.
The MOTC noted that the signing of the new air agreement significantly raises capacity for passenger and cargo traffic between Taiwan and Hong Kong, and should deliver conspicuous economic benefits. It will also improve operational flexibility for businesses and enhance travel convenience for passengers. Its advantageous effects for economic and trade cooperation and tourism development between Taiwan and Hong Kong will be substantial.