The first weekend of charter flights across the Taiwan Strait concluded Monday with 11 carriers having offered services, which many regard as an important step toward the opening of scheduled flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. The 11 airlines are Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, China Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, TransAsia Airways, Uni Air and EVA Air. Taiwanese aviation authorities reported that six airports handled 72 flights transporting 12,000 passengers July 4-7. Taipei Taoyuan handled 32 flights followed by Taipei Songshan with 26. Makung (six), Kaohsiung (four), Taichung (two) and Hualien (two) handled the remainder. Corresponding statistics for the mainland were unavailable, but CAAC noted that there will be 144 roundtrip flights across the strait this month. Mainland carriers expect the flights to provide a new growth point as they have experienced slowing increases in demand, especially in May when passenger volume dipped 1.1% year-over-year, the first decrease since 2003. 7/8/2008
Air China and China Eastern Airlines carried fewer passengers in June than a year earlier as heightened airport security checks ahead of the Olympic Games and a devastating earthquake discouraged air travel. The decline in traffic at two of China's three major airlines extended a drop in May linked to the earthquake in southwest China, which curbed tourist travel to scenic Sichuan province and led to the cancellation of conferences and other events. 7/16/2008
Air India terrorist bombings, Inderjit Singh Reyat's release on bail, after 20 years in custody. The long-suffering families of those who died in the attack feel he should not released. Their renewed anguish and heartbreak were made even worse by the courts' initial refusal to disclose a smidgen of detail about why Mr. Reyat was suddenly set free while awaiting trial on perjury, or even the conditions of his release. As public outrage grew, authorities finally relented late Friday afternoon. We now have Appeal Court Judge Anne Rowles' full decision, a tardy but welcome exception to the publication bans automatically slapped on so many bail proceedings. But her reasons provide cold comfort to the families and for those who remain aghast that so little punishment has been meted out in the world's deadliest pre-9/11 case of aviation terrorism. According to Judge Rowles, perjury...