China Eastern launches first Taipei flight to Wuhan since Covid


Summary

  • After a gap of 3 years and 8 months, direct flights between Wuhan and Taipei have finally resumed, signaling a positive step towards the rapid resumption of cross-strait exchanges.
  • The fully booked inaugural flight from Taipei to Wuhan included more than 100 prominent figures from Taiwan’s political and business circles.
  • Although the number of cross-strait flights is still not at pre-pandemic levels, the gradual resumption of flights has made travel more convenient.


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After nearly three years and eight months of interruption, the direct flight route between Wuhan and Taipei has finally resumed. On the morning of the 18th, China Eastern Airlines flight MU2087 took off from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH) and landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) more than two hours later. After a stopover of 1 hour and 53 minutes in Taipei, the return flight took more than 160 passengers back to Wuhan.

Based on relevant arrangements, civil aviation routes continue to avoid the sensitive Taiwan Strait area.

The return flight from Taipei to Wuhan was fully booked, with more than 100 prominent people from Taiwan’s political and business circles on board. It included Kuomintang (KMT) vice-chairman Lien Sheng-wen and Taiwan Business Association (TBA) president Su Shu-po, among others. Most were invited to participate in the 17th Hubei Wuhan Taiwan Week event starting in Wuhan the next day.

Upon arriving in Wuhan, TBA Chairman Su Shu-po said,

“Today, the cabin was almost full, and whether it is for people-to-people exchanges or business negotiations, everyone is anxiously awaiting the rapid and comprehensive resumption of cross-Strait exchanges “

With Wuhan being the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, this flight route was the first cross-strait route to be suspended, making its resumption particularly important.


Wuhan route disrupted due to outbreak of epidemic

Before the pandemic in 2019, there were more than 189,000 passengers on cross-strait flights to Wuhan. Four airlines from either side of the strait – China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines – operated flights on this route.

According to the resumption plan, China Eastern Airlines’ resumed Wuhan-Taipei round-trip flight, with flight number MU2087/2088, is scheduled to operate two flights per week on Monday and Thursday. The outbound flight will depart Wuhan at 15:05 and arrive at Taipei Taoyuan Airport at 17:30. The return flight will depart from Taipei Taoyuan Airport at 18:40 and arrive in Wuhan at 21:20.

According to information released by China Southern Airlines, the carrier is also set to restart its Wuhan to Taiwan Taoyuan route on September 22. China Southern has been continuously resuming many cross-strait direct flight routes since the beginning of the year. In addition to the Wuhan route, the Zhengzhou route is set to begin operations in September, bringing the total number of cities to five. There will be a total of 48 weekly round-trip flights between the two sides of the strait.

China Southern Airlines planes were grounded at Shanghai Pudong Airport.  China

Photo: Uskarp/Shutterstock

China Airlines is currently evaluating whether to resume flights or not.

Restoration of cross-strait routes in the post-Covid era

On March 9 this year, except for non-stop cross-strait flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu (four green dots below), Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council announced plans to gradually resume regular flights to ten major cities in mainland China. These cities include Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Ningbo and Zhengzhou.ten red dots below,

10 city 1

Photo: Su Wu / Simply Flying

Following this announcement, China Airlines and EVA Air announced the gradual resumption of flights from Taipei Taoyuan and Kaohsiung to several mainland cities including Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou from March 26. Over the past six months, service has gradually resumed on many cross-strait flight routes and destinations.

While the number of cross-Strait flights and destinations has not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, the gradual resumption of flights has made travel more convenient for the public and has had a positive impact on cross-Strait exchanges. A Taiwanese businessman who flew from Taipei to Wuhan on the 18th expressed,

“The Wuhan route was suspended at the beginning of the epidemic, and its resumption is indeed a positive sign.”

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