Beijing has agreed in principle to allow Taiwan airlines to fly over China to other countries, which will boost Taiwan airlines' international competitiveness, a newspaper reported Monday.
The Commercial Times, quoting an unnamed source, said that China has agreed in principle to approve Taiwan airlines' requests to fly over China's airspace en route to other countries, which will save time and fuel on flights to Europe, dpa reported.
If China grants the fly-over rights, or "first freedom rights," it could cut Taiwan airlines' routes to and from Europe by four hours.
China has also agreed in principle to grant Taiwan airlines so- called fifth freedom rights, specified in the Chicago international aviation convention as privileges granted to international carriers to pick up passengers and cargo on a government's territory en route to other destinations.
The Commercial Times said that Taiwan and China may discuss the first and fifth freedom rights for Taiwan airlines in the Taiwan- China talks, which begin Monday in Taipei, so that the two sides can sign the air pact at a later date.
The paper said that Taiwan airlines are seeking the seventh and eighth freedom rights, so that when they fly via China to a foreign country, they can pick up passengers and cargo in that country on return flights.
In the Taiwan-China talks starting Monday, the two sides will sign pacts on direct sea links, direct postal service and expanding weekend charter flights to daily charter flights.