Published on : Saturday, December 29, 2018
The authorities of American Airlines Group confirmed it had changed how its website refers to Taiwan, a move expected to be followed by two other major US carriers in an effort to avoid Chinese penalties.
A check of American Airlines’ website showed it now listed only Taipei’s airport code and city, but not the name Taiwan.
The Beijing government has demanded that the foreign companies, and airlines in particular, not refer to Taiwan as non-Chinese territory on their websites, a move described by the White House in May as “Orwellian nonsense”.
The Chinese government set a final deadline of Wednesday for the changes. It is referred that the last month, China rejected US requests for talks on the matter, adding to tensions already raised by an escalating trade conflict.
The spokeswoman of American Airlines, Shannon Gilson said that like other carriers, American airlines is implementing changes to address China’s request.
The airline travel is now a global business, and they should abide by the rules in countries where they operate. Hawaiian Airlines had changed its website before the deadline so that searches for flights to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, appeared as “Taipei, Taipei” in dropdown menus.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines still included references to Taiwan late on Tuesday. The US state department and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment late on Tuesday.
There are numerous non-US airlines including Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways and Qantas have already made changes to their websites after China’s Civil Aviation Administration sent a letter to 36 foreign air carriers this year.
This announcement came as China further increased pressure on Taiwan, a self-ruled island considered by China as part of its territory. On Monday, a group of LGBTQ activists accused China of forcing organisers of the Gay Games to ban the Taiwanese flag at the competition in Paris next month.