Taipei top choice on record day for flights

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 March, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's airport was expecting to handle a record 900 inbound and outbound flights yesterday.

Even though Taiwan was holding its presidential election today, tour agencies said Taipei topped the list of travel destinations over the Easter weekend holiday.

A spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Department said: 'With good weather conditions and no major operational problems, about 900 flights should be landing or taking off [today]. The number would surpass our record of 891 inbound and outbound flights on April 5 last year.'

She said Fukushima and Okinawa in Japan were the most popular destinations after Taipei.

This Easter also had the largest demand for extra flights, 308 for the period between March 17 and 30, she said. About 260 flights were added last year.

Alcuin Li Wai-keung, general manager of Sunflower Travel, said the four-day public holiday made it ideal for trips to Southeast Asian countries. 'It is interesting that the Taiwanese election has not turned tourists away,' he said.

Reports said some Taiwanese businesspeople in Hong Kong had flown home to vote. There were also tourists who wanted to witness the historic moment and the heated election campaign.

Mr Li said his agency could have organised more tours if the airlines had added more flights.

However, all tours to Tibet had been cancelled, he said, though some tourists still wanted to go there despite the unrest in Lhasa.

A total of 551,642 people left Hong Kong yesterday, including more than 232,000 who crossed the border at Lo Wu, 67,805 at the airport and more than 41,000 at the Macau Ferry Terminal.

Some 308,720 people entered the city.