Alternative air routes arranged, China drills impact limited: minister

08/03/2022 11:20 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) The impact of China's upcoming live-fire drills on international flights in and out of Taiwan will be limited, as alternative routes have been worked out for departing and arriving carriers, Transportation and Communications Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said Wednesday.

Alternative routes have been arranged for airlines flying on northbound and southbound international routes after negotiations with Japanese and Philippine authorities, at a time when China is set to conduct live-fire military drills in six maritime areas near Taiwan from Aug. 4-7, Wang said at a news conference hosted by the Executive Yuan.

Although 18 international routes were initially thought to be affected, he said the actual impact has been minimized by securing alternate routes, though those flights will take longer.

No domestic flights will be impacted by the Chinese military exercises, he said.

Under the arrangements, northbound carriers flying to or coming from destinations in North America and Northeast Asia can pass through the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (FIR), while those flying on southward routes can use the Philippine FIR, according to Wang.

No flights bound for Hong Kong or Macau will be affected, and some flights to China will need to detour through Kong Kong, he said.

In terms of marine transport, there will be no impact as there are no fixed shipping lanes in the open sea, he said, noting that the Maritime and Port Bureau has published a notice urging ships to avoid the six areas where China's military will conduct drills, while asking vessels to avoid Keelung, Su'ao, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Anping, Hualien and Heping ports to ensure their safety.

As of press time, neither Taiwan-based airlines nor shipping companies registered in Taiwan have applied to cancel trips, while foreign-based aviation companies, such as Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines, have not cancelled any flights either, according to Wang and Taiwan International Ports Corp.

However, Taiwanese fishermen are concerned about the possible fallout from China's military exercises and are postponing operations.

Tsai Pao-hsing (蔡寶興), manager of the Liuqiu fishermen's association in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County, told CNA they are extremely uneasy about the situation, fearing Chinese military drills could become the norm in waters around Taiwan.

Meanwhile, a Liuqiu fisherman surnamed Hung (洪), said he had planned to fish in waters off Hualien in eastern Taiwan from Aug. 5-6.

Although that area will not be directly affected by Chinese military drills, Hung said he will now wait until after Aug. 8.

(By Flor Wang, Lai Yu-chen and Lee Hui-ting)


> Chinese Version


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