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Taiwan: Civil Aeronautics Administration submits proposals for response to route launch by China

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) revealed that it has already forwarded proposals to the Mainland Affairs Council with regards to potential responses that would resolve issues stemming from China’s unilateral launch of four aviation routes over the Taiwan Strait.

The air routes are for northbound trips on the M503 route, which is only 7.8 km away from the median line of the Strait. It can also be used for those on three extension routes — W121, W122 and W123 — along China’s southeast coast.

Beijing unilaterally made these routes two years ago to help ease flight congestion on its A470 route, which is mainly used by flights between the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta.

However in 2015, Taiwan and China settled that only southbound flights would be allowed on route M503 and that the three extension routes would not be triggered until after the negotiations had been concluded.

But last week, China initiated the four routes without discussing the matter with Taipei.

The Mainland Affairs Council criticized Beijing’s move, and accused it of violating the terms of the 2015 agreement and “attempting to cover its malicious intentions toward Taiwan under the guise of civil aviation.”

It also requested China to instantly cease all flights on the four routes and to begin discussing terms over their safety. It added that Taiwan would take further action if China does not accede to its demands.

However, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council said that it does not have to talk with Taiwan over the routes, as initiating their use is just part of the Chinese civil aviation authority’s job to manage its airspace.

CAA data reveals that to date, over 100 commercial flights have already used the four routes, in spite the agency’s mandate to 80 domestic and foreign carriers to stop using them because of safety concerns.

As of this writing, the CAA has yet to be given an official response from the Chinese civil aviation authority.

The agency has previously dealt with carriers that disobeyed its orders or recommendations when it came to using specific routes. This included sanctions such as not approving their flights or giving their flights less favorable landing and departure times.

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