Today, without too much fuss, regular direct flights
between mainland China and Taiwan began, fulfilling a campaign pledge of Ma Yingjiu
. The flights run Friday-to-Monday between Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Taipei. As you can see from the maps (from Sina & Chinanews) below, all flights still route near Hong Kong airspace so they are “direct” only in the sense of not having to actually stop in Hong Kong or somewhere else. Still it’s the start of something new — the “direct” flights put major mainland cities within a one- to two-hour radius of Taiwan, make it possible for day trips back and forth, for business or leisure. This is a popular move. Why has it taken so long and why is this significant?
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