After the issues into the run up to Christmas it was only a short respite where services got back to normal but it looks like the Lunar New Year will be thrown into chaos once again with a row erupting between China and Taiwan. 176 additional flights had been laid on between China and Taipei but in an escalating war over flight paths dating back to 2015 and will be a major headache for both with tens of thousands of people having bought tickets for the flights and Taiwan being a major gateway for cargo into China.
This refusal by Taipei to authorise flights can be traced back to an agreement in 2015 where a deal was struck between China & Taiwan to discuss flight paths before they came into operation. Both China Eastern & Xiamen operate flights on flight paths not agreed by Taiwan, arguably the most contentious route being the M503 corridor which travels up the Taiwan Strait that divides China & Taiwan.
China refutes any suggestion that this and other routes pose a risk to safety and claim that these routes are aimed at easing traffic in an increasingly congested area and the routes would only ever be used for civil aviation. Coming so close to the Lunar New Year may be a disaster for passengers but will also likely see an impact on cargo rates into China as China Eastern’s projected capacity is severely held back to existing routes both into and out of China.
It does appear that only airlines using the new flight routes have been affected and no flight refusals have been issued to any other airline.