Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

US carriers say still working on China’s request on Taiwan

Reuters, CHICAGO and SHANGHAI

The US’ three largest airlines said they are in the process of amending their systems to address Chinese requests over how they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, after Chinese state media reported that they had yet to complete revisions in time for yesterday’s deadline.

The Global Times newspaper on Wednesday singled out Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in a report which said that the companies had yet to meet requirements set by China’s aviation regulator.

China has demanded that foreign firms — and airlines in particular — do not refer to Taiwan as a non-Chinese territory on their Web sites, a demand the White House slammed in May as “Orwellian nonsense.”

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which has been pushing airlines to make the change, had originally set a deadline for July 25.

However, last month, it said that the four US airlines had asked for another extension as it perceived their amendments as “incomplete.”

It was unclear what the exact deadline was in view of the time difference between the US and China or what additional amendments the US carriers were making.

Checks yesterday showed Delta, United and American Airlines now list only Taipei’s airport code and city, but not the name Taiwan, while there is no mention of Taipei or Taiwan on Hawaiian Airlines’ Web site.

“United Airlines has begun to roll out changes to its systems to address China’s requirements,” a company spokesman said.

“United abides by and respects local laws and regulations in all markets and jurisdictions where we operate and conduct business. United flights to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will continue to operate normally,” it said.

Delta said that like other US carriers, it was “in the process of implementing Web site changes” in response to the CAAC’s request.

It added that it remained in close consultation with the US government throughout the process.

“Like other carriers, American is implementing changes to address China’s request,” American Airlines spokeswoman Shannon Gilson said.

Hawaiian Airlines, Airlines for America — a trade group that represents major US carriers — and the CAAC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Global Times reported the CAAC as saying that it was closely monitoring the situation.

It is unclear how China might punish airlines that did not comply with its requests, but in December last year, it added a clause to rules governing foreign airlines in the country, saying regulators could change a company’s permit if it did not meet “the demand of public interest.”

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