Air China, China's flag carrier and its second-largest airline, has opened an office in Taipei.
Air China says it will work to facilitate the communications between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. In addition to recruiting Taiwanese local staff, it will sign an agreement with the government of Jiayi County in Taiwan to promote Alishan tea and sponsor children from poor families in Jiayi to go to Taipei to see the giant pandas.
Kong Dong, chairman of Air China, said that Air China would sponsor Sichuan province's plan to hold its first panda festival in Taiwan in mid-April to introduce Sichuan's culture and views to Taiwanese people in support of Sichuan's post-earthquake reconstruction. In addition, it will sponsor children from Jiayi County to go to Taipei to see the giant pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, and will also fund outstanding senior middle school students from Jiayi to go to Sichuan Wolong Nature Reserve to see the giant pandas.
Due to the terms of their business license, Air China's Taiwan office can only provide non-profit services such as consulting.
By the end of October 2008, Air China had 241 aircraft and a network of more than 250 routes across the world. The airline currently provides flights to Taiwan from Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Hangzhou, and Chongqing.