Taiwan Takedown: U.S. Airlines Bow to China’s Dominance – Report

by Sam Roecker

United’s current reference to Taipei (TPE), Taiwan

July 25 deadline for airlines to refer to “China Taiwan”

Bloomberg reported yesterday that U.S. airlines plan to comply with China’s demands – and today’s July 25 deadline – for changing references to Taiwan to include China’s claim on the territory. The mandate states airlines serving (Mainland) China must begin referencing China’s claim on Taiwan.

While reports indicate U.S. carriers plan to comply, nothing has changed – at least not yet.

United’s reference to Hong Kong includes “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”

A looming dispute – more than just semantics

The potential dispute has been looming since April when the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) sent a letter to foreign airlines mandating a change for referring to Taiwan as “China Taiwan” or the “China Taiwan region.” According to Bloomberg, maps must also display Taiwan and China in the same color and cannot include Taiwan in categories like Southeast Asia.

Four U.S. airlines will comply with the mandate

Four U.S. carriers – American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United – are affected by the mandate since they all serve China. United is the only U.S. airline to serve Taipei (TPE) directly with daily nonstop service from San Francisco (SFO).

United’s flight status for Thursday still shows ‘Taiwan’

Delta withdrew from the Tawain market in 2017 when it ended it’s Tokyo Narita (NRT) – Taipei (TPE) flight, one of the carrier’s last remaining intra-flights from its Narita hub. Hawaiian Airlines suspended Taipei service in 2014, previously offering three-weekly service from Honolulu (HNL). American does not serve Taipei but does offer codeshare flights with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

American’s codeshare flight status operated by Japan Airlines still shows ‘Taipei’

Changes to award travel regions?

With the new mandate, airlines may have to change award regions to reflect China’s assertiveness over Taiwan. Currently, both China and Taiwan are included in United’s “North Asia” category, while Hong Kong is listed as “South Asia.”

American includes China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in the same category – Asia Region 1.

Will award travel regions change under China’s new Taiwan policy?

Stay tuned –


H/T: Skift and Live and Let’s Fly

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