Business / Corporate

ANA, JAL, Peach now disregard China ADIZ

Bloomberg

ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s largest carriers, flew through China’s newly declared air defense identification zone without notifying the country after Japan asked airlines to stop giving flight information to China.

ANA’s flight from Tokyo touched down in Taipei at 1:11 p.m. Japan time, said Yoichi Uchida, a spokesman for the company. JAL’s flight from Osaka touched down in Taipei at 12:24 p.m., Kazunori Kidosaki, an airline spokesman, said.

The Japanese government on Tuesday told its domestic airlines to stop providing flight information to China, which has mandated that planes give details when flying through the new ADIZ it unilaterally declared. Japan has denounced the move and the U.S. military flew two unarmed B-52 bombers into the area, which includes the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that are controlled by Japan but claimed by China, which calls them the Diaoyu.

Peach Aviation Ltd., a low-fare carrier affiliated with ANA Holdings Inc., said it also flew safely through the new Chinese ADIZ after Japan on Tuesday asked carriers to stop giving flight information to China.

The Wednesday morning flight from Osaka to Taipei was uneventful, Peach spokesman Naoto Domeki said. ANA and JAL separately said Tuesday they are reversing an earlier decision and would stop reporting flight plans for planes traveling through the Chinese zone that Japan rejects.

ANA and JAL said they would halt the sharing of the flight-plan data starting Wednesday, spokesmen said.

The carriers shifted their stance on instructions from the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan, the airlines’ trade group, which acted as an intermediary between the airlines and the Civil Aviation Bureau, said Maho Ito, an ANA spokeswoman.

The U.S. military flew two unarmed B-52s into the zone without incident, according to a Pentagon. China announced the ADIZ effective Nov. 23 and said its military will take “defensive emergency measures” if aircraft enter the area without reporting flight plans or identifying themselves.

The information ANA had been supplying to China was the same shared with other countries, according to Ryosei Nomura, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based carrier. The data included planes’ routes, cruising altitudes and flight times, Nomura said.

Other countries’ carriers are awaiting government guidance.

“There has been no change to our operations,” Lee Hyo-min, a spokeswoman for Seoul-based Asiana Airlines Inc., said Tuesday. “We have not yet provided any flight plans to China on services that pass through the zone because there has been no guideline from the government. We will make changes if and when the government revises this guideline.”

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said its flight operations are normal. The creation of the zone hasn’t affected operations of commercial flights so far, the International Air Transport Association said in an emailed response.

“Some airlines have had to take some extra steps at the moment, such as filing flight plans manually,” IATA said. “We are trying to get more details from the Chinese authorities to clarify ongoing operational requirements.”

The announcement of the zone follows a decision by Communist Party leaders this month, after a meeting led by President Xi Jinping, to form a state committee to coordinate security issues as China broadens its military reach.

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