SHANGHAI, CHINA - CHINA'S civil aviation authority has divided weekly flights to Taiwan, with the country's top three carriers each obtaining four return flights a week, it said.
The country's big three carriers are China Southern Airlines, Air China and China Eastern Airlines.
Smaller regional carriers Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and Xiamen Airlines will also each operate two return flights on a weekly basis, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.
'These will be initial arrangements,' the aviation regulator said in a statement published on its website (http://www.caac.gov.cn) on Tuesday. 'We will increase carriers in future in line with rising demand.'
China and Taiwan signed a landmark deal last Friday to launch regular flights between the long-time rivals. Apart from special holidays, there have been no regular direct flights since 1949.
China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled and democratic Taiwan ever since and has pledged to bring the island under its control, by force if necessary.
But the election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who won by a landslide in March on pledges to boost the local economy by improving trade with China, has suddenly warmed relations. -- REUTERS