KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 5): Malaysia Airlines Bhd is joining scores of other airlines in cancelling flights to Taipei and rerouting others in the airspace affected by the military exercises that China is conducting near the island in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
"Based on its risk assessment, Malaysia Airlines will be cancelling flight MH366/367 from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei (and Taipei to Kuala Lumpur) on Aug 6, and rerouting all flights passing through the airspace affected by the military drills, in this case, flights into Japan and Korea.
"The reroute will incur additional flight time on particular sectors.
"Malaysia Airlines will continue to avoid any restricted area published in [the] current Notice of Air Missions (NOTAMS) by the authority as per its current policy and readjust the flight plan accordingly. The operation team conducts monitoring of such information on a daily basis for each [Malaysia Airlines] flight," the airline said in an emailed response to The Edge on Friday (Aug 5) on whether the Chinese military drills would affect its operations.
Meanwhile, Capital A Bhd's spokesperson told The Edge that its low-cost long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) does not currently operate any flight to Taipei.
"AAX does not fly to Taipei at the moment. As safety is our priority, the group will adhere to the [NOTAMS] in all of our operations," the spokesperson when contacted on Friday.
Reuters reported that some airlines such as Korean Air Lines Co Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd cancelled flights to and from Taipei on Friday due to the drills. The Korean carrier has also cancelled its Saturday flights and postponed the ones scheduled for Sunday.
The move came after Beijing warned airlines to avoid six "danger zones" where the People's Liberation Army is conducting exercises to safeguard China's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" after the veteran US politician defied warnings against a trip to Taiwan.
"Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and Philippines Airlines said their flights were avoiding designated airspace zones around Taiwan, in a move that could lead to more flying time for some flights, while Vietnam's aviation regulator warned its airlines to avoid the area," Reuters reported.