BEIJING, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- China and Taiwan renewed their agreement to allow charter flights between the mainland and island for the next Spring Festival celebrating Chinese New Year.
Pu Zhaozhou, vice president of the Cross-Straits Aviation Transport Exchange Council, announced the agreement Friday - just the second time direct flights will be allowed since Taipei banned links with mainland China in 1949, the China Daily newspaper reported.
The charter flights will run from Jan. 20 to Feb. 13 through Hong Kong airspace. They will link Taipei and Kaoshiung in Taiwan with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen in China.
The Spring Festival is an ancient tradition dating back to the Shang Dynasty. It celebrates the Lunar New Year, which is Jan. 29 in 2006 according to the Western calendar.
Traditionally, hundreds of thousands of Chinese travel home to be with family during the Spring Festival. China mandates that everyone have a seven-day vacation for the holiday, according to the China Internet Information Center.