Activation of M503's connecting routes to benefit passengers across the Taiwan Straits, facilitate personnel exchanges: Taiwan Affairs Office

2024-04-19 13:30:35Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The M503 flight path's connecting routes of W122 and W123 from west to east has been activated starting Friday, a move that safeguards the rights and interests of passengers and is beneficial for people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council said on Friday.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) made the announcement early Friday. It also said that the airspace for arrivals and departures at Fuzhou Changle Airport in East China's Fujian Province will be further optimized starting from May 16.

The W122 and W123 from west to east link M503 with the mainland cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian, close to Taiwan's Kinmen and Matsu islands.

Taiwan media and politicians hyped the move as "a deliberate attempt" by the mainland to use civil aviation as a cover for political, and possibly military intentions aimed at altering the status quo in the Taiwan Straits, which poses not only risks to civil aviation safety in the island but also creates a threat to Taiwan's airspace defense.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said the decision is aimed at relieving the pressure on the growth in flight numbers across the immediate regions, ensuring flight safety, reducing flight delays, and safeguarding the rights and interests of passengers, which benefits both sides of the Straits.

The M503 route is located within the Shanghai Flight Information Region, and the establishment and operation of this route is a routine task of the mainland's civil aviation airspace management, Zhu noted.

Since the cancellation of the flight offset measure for the M503 route, overall operation safety has been stable, effectively improving cross-Straits flight operations, and further facilitating personnel exchanges between the two sides, the spokesperson added.

By 2024, China's civil aviation industry has transitioned from recovery to incremental improvement.

This optimization of airspace in Fujian and the adjustment of the M503's connecting routes will facilitate the development of air transport between the Yangtze River Delta region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as China's southeastern coastal region, the CAAC said.

It will improve operational conditions, ensure flight safety, enhance the capacity to cope with thunderstorm seasons, improve flight punctuality, and better serve passenger travel needs, according to the administration.

China announced on January 30 that starting from February 1, the deviation of the M503 flight route from north to south will be canceled, a change which the Taiwan authorities interpreted would see southbound aircraft flight paths above the Taiwan Straits come closer to Taiwan's self-claimed "median line," "flight information region," and "air defense identification zone."

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