Chinese airlines cancel 176 flights over route dispute with Taiwan

China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air have cancelled extra flights over the Lunar New Year after failing to get four new routes approved by Taiwan.


NSFW    TAIPEI / BEIJING — Taiwan and China are locked in a fierce dispute over new flight routes, with Chinese new year travelers bearing the consequences.

Bloomberg reports that China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air have cancelled 176 flights during the February 15 to 20 lunar holiday, affecting roughly 50,000 passengers.

The Chinese carriers failed to get approval on four flight routes over the Taiwan Strait, which passses within 7.8 kilometers of the country's territorial line at its nearest point.

Taiwan says the routes pose a safety threat since they come close to airspace used by Taiwanese commercial and military aircrafts.

CNN reports that China Eastern airlines accused Taiwan of "violating the humanitarian needs" of passengers and their families, while China's Civil Aviation Administration condemned authorities for refusing to give approval, according to Bloomberg.

But Taiwan says it hadn't been consulted over the routes, as it should have been under a 2015 agreement.

Taiwanese passengers have been advised to take other flights, though military planes will be deployed at Taiwan-controlled Kinmen to to transport citizens to the main island.
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