The tension between China and Taiwan that started over air navigation has resulted in the cancellation of 176 flights between the two nations.
Taiwan has expressed its opposition to the flight paths of special services on for the impending Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).
The route in question is called M503 and it is said to pass dangerously close to existing airports on the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the straits.
Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan, tweeted earlier this month: “Recent unilateral actions by #China – including M503 flight route & increased military exercises – are destabilizing & should be avoided.”
Meanwhile, a publication in China has claimed that the flights, which are being operated by China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, “were obstructed by the Taiwan aviation authority.”
The airlines have offered complete refunds to an estimated 25,000 passengers who were already booked on the flights.
China Eastern Airlines urged Taiwan officials to “normalize the development of the cross-Straits civil aviation sector as soon as possible”.
The tension between the two countries is nearing fever pitch. Earlier this month, the global hotel chain Marriott released a profuse apology to Chinese authorities after describing Taiwan, along with Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau, as a separate country.
This act was interpreted by some as “disrespecting the sovereignty” of the People’s Republic.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has also demanded an “immediate and public” apology from Delta Air Lines after it listed Tibet and Taiwan as countries on its website.
The CAAC has called on foreign carriers that operate flights to China to review their websites, apps and other customer-related information to make sure that they “strictly comply with China’s laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening.”