Taiwan and Australia amended the bilateral Air Services Annex Dec. 15 in Taipei City, a significant step forward in opening up the skies between the two sides, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Signed by CAA Director-General Lin Kuo-shian and Australian Office Taipei Representative Catherine Raper, the revised pact allows for an unrestricted capacity of flights both ways as well as other benefits such as expanded code-sharing.
The CAA said the changes, which take effect immediately, are in line with the government’s New Southbound Policy and provide a convenient avenue for local firms seeking to grow their presence in Australia.
A significant component of Republic of China (Taiwan) President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the people-centric New Southbound Policy seeks to deepen agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade links between Taiwan and Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
“In addition to laying a solid foundation to promote two-way aviation transportation and help carriers grow their businesses, this development will bolster bilateral trade and economic collaboration, cultural exchanges and tourism,” the CAA said.
According to the agency, before the revisions took effect, the number of passenger seats on flights between the two sides was capped at 6,000 per week, with local carriers China Airlines Co. and EVA Airways Corp. offering 20 regular round-trip flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
In response to the signing of the accord, the Australian Office Taipei said in a social media posting that the amended arrangements are “very timely,” as the latest figures show an impressive gain of 30 percent in tourist numbers from Taiwan over the past year. “We look forward to welcoming more tourists to Australia,” the office said.
According to the Ministry of Finance, trade between Taiwan and Australia totaled US$964.94 million during the first 11 months of the year, up 4.91 percent from the same period in 2015. Statistics from the Tourism Bureau show that annual visitor arrivals from Australia rose 9.04 percent to 64,236 as of the end of October. (SFC-E)
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