Airlines can continue offering cross-strait flights based on previously submitted flight plans, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.
The announcement came after Chinese authorities on Saturday declared an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that includes the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). The islands are also claimed by Taiwan and Japan, which calls them the Senkaku Islands.
While Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun (楊宇軍) said that aircraft entering the zone would be warned about possible defensive emergency measures if they refuse to comply with orders from Beijing, he added that normal civilian flights would not be affected.
CAA Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) said civilian airlines need not worry about flying through the zone.
“They submit their flight plans in advance, including their civil aviation identifier codes and the aviation routes,” she said. “The Chinese civil aviation authority forwards all this information to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.”
Shen said that the China’s new ADIZ would overlap with flight information regions (FIR) in some areas, adding that that airlines flying between China and Taiwan simply need to follow the flight plans they submitted previously.
An FIR is a specified airspace in which flight information and alert services are provided, with each portion of the atmosphere belonging to a specific FIR.
The division of different FIRs is conducted by international agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency.
Direct cross-strait flights use three specific routes. Two of them are to the north of Taiwan and are used by flights heading to Chinese cities north of Yangtze River. The one in the southwest of Taiwan is used by flights heading to southern Chinese cities.