|Passengers at Nội Bài airport, Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Over 100 international flights operated by Vietnamese airlines are affected by China’s planned military drills near Taiwan Island.
The budget carrier Vietjet has the most flights affected with 82, followed by the national carrier Vietnam Airlines with 36 flights, and Bamboo Airways with two flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam said it had received a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) from the Việt Nam Air Traffic Management Corporation on China’s telegram announcing the setting up of six temporary ‘danger zones’ related to Flight Information Regions of Taipei, Shanghai, and Manila from 4am, August 4 to 4am, August 7 (GMT). According to the message, all aircraft are prohibited from entering these airspaces for safety reasons.
Flights to Northeast Asia (mainland China, China's Taiwan, South Korea, Japan) and the United States are set to be severely disrupted.
The aviation authority has alerted the airlines and asked them to study the contents of the NOTAM carefully, closely monitor and continuously update NOTAM announcing establishments of temporary danger areas, airspace restriction/closure, airport closure/airway section closure, and air traffic flow management of neighbouring countries (if any).
Under no circumstances should the above six temporary danger zones be violated.
|Six marked areas denote places where China's military actions are planned. — Photo from Xinhua News Agency|
The agency noted that the airlines could decide whether to still carry out flights during the above-mentioned time.
In case of changing the route, it is necessary to apply for a flight permit on time and in accordance with regulations.
In case a flight has to be cancelled or delayed, the airlines must promptly notify passengers with a proper explanation.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam will assist airlines in applying for a flight permit or other problems in adjusting their flight routes through the airspace of other countries.
On Thursday morning, Vietnam Airlines said they would need to alter the routes of several flights between Việt Nam and Japan, China’s Taiwan, South Korea, and the US to avoid several areas near Taiwan.
“The adjustments will prolong flight time, and we ask for sympathies from passengers for this unwanted change,” the airline said, adding that passengers should frequently check for updates.
On Tuesday night, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported that the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army would launch a series of joint military operations around Taiwan Island starting from Thursday. The announcement came soon after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan Tuesday night, starting her controversial visit.
The PLA Eastern Theater Command will stage joint training exercises in the maritime areas of the northern, southwestern and southeastern coasts of the island and their air space, conduct long-range live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait and conventional missile tests in the waters off the eastern coast of the island, according to Xinhua. — VNS