Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Chinese flights scrapped in Taiwan row

Tensions are mounting again in the skies between China and Taiwan as two Chinese airlines have halted flights between China and Taiwan, as the row between Beijing and Taipei over access to air routes intensifies.

Both China Eastern and Xiamen Airlines had planned to operate an extra 176 round trips over the Lunar New Year holiday period. However, Taipei has refused to authorise the flights, for which tens of thousands of people had already bought tickets.

It is a position that could potentially leave hundreds of passengers stranded as they try to get home for what is considered to be the biggest holiday of the year. According to press statements from both airlines, they say they had no other choice other than to halt the flights. 

Aviation commentators indicate that refusal to agree to those extra flights is a retaliation from Taiwan after China opened up several new air routes that both China Eastern and Xiamen Airlines had been taking advantage of. Taiwanese authorities state China's actions risked flight safety as well as going against a deal to discuss such flight paths before they came into operation, that had been agreed in 2015

Those new routes have included a contentious northbound route 'M503' which proceeds along the Taiwan Strait which divides China from the self-ruling island.

Beijing however, insists they had every right to open up the routes, including M503, which it said was "designed by China in cooperation with the United States and other countries" in 2007. They also said they had notified Taipei of the planned routes to avoid any safety issues. 





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