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China Airlines launches a humanitarian charter flight direct to Sichuan

In response to Sichuan’s immediate need for disaster relief and humanitarian aid caused by China’s most devastating earthquake in three decades, China Airlines is taking the initiative to offer free airlift services for aid materials, using a Boeing 747-400 freighter. The charity charter, direct to Chengdu in Sichuan province from Taipei, will be a milestone in cross-strait ties as the first-ever cross-strait humanitarian charter flight. The flight will deliver relief goods, and will display the Taiwanese people’s love and care to China.

At 17:00 local time on May 15, China Airlines flight CI 6889 will carry 110 tons of relief goods, including blankets, sleeping bags, tents and medical supplies, direct to Chengdu, in mainland China. The total flying time is 3 hours and 30 minutes, and the estimated arrival time is 20:30 on the same day. After a five-hour stop, the aircraft will depart at 01:30 in the early morning on May 16, and arrive in Taipei at 04:45.

“As soon as the disaster news was released on Monday, May 12, CAL proactively contacted the Red Cross Society of the ROC and the Buddhist Compassion Tzu Chi Foundation, to express its desire and good will for sponsorship,” said Mr. Ringo Chao, Chairman and CEO of China Airlines.

“Immediately, CAL began to work on the charter arrangements and team up with UT Freight Service Ltd. for free customs application, and Taiwan Air Cargo Terminal and Taoyuan International Airport Services Co. for free storage and ground handling services.”

To accomplish this first-time humanitarian charter flight in a very limited time, China Airlines made an all-out effort to complete the application process for landing and take-off permits from official aviation and airport authorities on both sites of the strait. Since this is the first direct flight to Chengdu from Taiwan, everyone in CAL is helping out. CAL sent a mechanical team and ground staff to Chengdu Airport ahead of the charter’s arrival, and many of the pilots also volunteered for flight duty.

“China Airlines is a member of international society,” continued Mr. Chao. “We are only performing our duty as a responsible corporate citizen.”

In 2004, China Airlines transported more than 90 tons of relief goods, as well as rescue teams and volunteers, on 20 flights to Indonesia’s tsunami-hit region, and in 2005, CAL sponsored rescue teams to Pakistan.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.