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Premier: More than enough seats on cross-strait flights over holiday

  • Premier William Lai

    Premier William Lai

    Premier William Lai (center) visits Songshan Airport in Taipei Wednesday as part of a check-up on Lunar New Year transport preparations. (Photo by CNA)

Premier William Lai says that there are more seats than needed on cross-strait flights during the Lunar New Year holiday.


Lai was speaking Wednesday during a check-up on transport authorities’ preparations before the holiday begins Thursday.


He was responding to controversy surrounding Taiwan’s decision to deny permission for Chinese airlines to operate 176 extra cross-strait flights over the holiday. The decision stemmed from Beijing’s unilateral opening of the M503 flight route, which approaches the median line of the Taiwan Strait.


Lai said that safety must come first in aviation, echoing earlier government concerns that Beijing’s flight path could jeopardize safety in the air. Lai also said that cross-strait flights headed to Taiwan during the holiday are only 80% to 90% full. He said there should be enough seats available for Taiwanese students, businesspeople, and tourists coming home for New Year.


Looking to the traffic likely to hit Taiwan’s roads in the coming days, Lai urged the use of public transportation. He also called on those traveling less than 20km to avoid highways, and for those driving on highways to avoid traveling at times when jams are likely.