SIA, Scoot cancel flights over ‘evolving airspace restrictions’ amid Chinese military exercises near Taiwan
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines and its budget arm Scoot have cancelled flights to and from Taiwan due to the "evolving airspace restrictions" amid Chinese military live-fire exercises around Taiwan, the national carrier said on Friday (Aug 5).
In response to CNA's queries, SIA said that flights SQ878 and SQ879 scheduled for Friday have been cancelled.
SQ878 flies from Singapore to Taipei, while SQ879 flies from Taipei to Singapore.
"The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. SIA will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any adjustments, as necessary," said SIA.
Affected customers can choose to make booking changes or seek a refund.
"For bookings made through travel agents or partner airlines, customers are advised to contact their travel agent or purchasing airline for assistance," said the airline.
In a statement to CNA, Scoot also confirmed that it cancelled flights scheduled for Friday: TR996 (Singapore to Taipei) and TR997 (Taipei to Singapore).
Additionally, the carrier had revised the flight plan of TR899 to fly direct from Tokyo's Narita Airport to Singapore without a stopover in Taipei on Thursday afternoon.
"Scoot will render assistance to our customers," it said.
"For bookings made through travel agents or partner airlines, customers are advised to contact their travel agent or purchasing airline for assistance."
Scoot also added that it will monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary.
In response to queries from CNA, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on Thursday said that Singapore carriers are avoiding areas affected by China’s live firing exercises near Taiwan, while SIA said that with the exception of flights SQ878 and SQ879, the company's passenger and cargo flights "currently do not traverse Taiwanese airspace".
Scoot also said that it will "continue to monitor the situation closely and make any appropriate adjustments". Currently all of its flights with the exception of flights TR996, TR997, TR898 and TR899 "do not traverse Taiwanese airspace".
TR996 and TR997 ply the route between Singapore and Taipei. TR898 flies from Singapore to Tokyo with a stop at Taipei, and TR899 flies from Tokyo to Singapore with a stop at Taipei.
Amid the military drills, Chinese ballistic missiles were believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone for the first time, Tokyo's defence minister Nobuo Kishi said on Thursday.
Kishi said that Japan has "lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels".
Taiwan's defence ministry said the missiles flew high into the atmosphere and constituted no threat to it, in response to public concern about whether they passed over the main island of Taiwan.