2008-04-01 23:20:24 Xinhua English
SHANGHAI, April 2 (Xinhua) -- A China Eastern flight left Shanghai for Taipei on Wednesday, kicking off a series of seasonal cross-Straits charter flights for the traditional Chinese tomb-sweeping festival.
Altogether 146 passengers, mostly Taiwanese working in Shanghai, were on board China Eastern's flight MU5005 from Shanghai's Pudongto Taipei on Wednesday, sources with the airline company said.
A total of 14 charter flights will fly between Shanghai and Taipei from Wednesday to next Monday, operated by China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines based in the mainland, and Taiwan-based China Airlines and EVA Air.
Charter flights will also fly from Guangzhou and Xiamen to Taipei and vice versa around the tomb-sweeping day that falls on Friday, April 4.
The day, also known as the Qingming Festival, is an occasion to remember the dead.
The first non-stop charter flights across the Taiwan Straits were launched for Chinese Lunar New Year in 2005, the first direct air links across the Straits in more than five decades.
The service is also available during important holidays, including the traditional Dragon Boat Festival in early summer, and the Mid-Autumn Festival in the autumn.