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Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai turned back over Taiwan reference

13 February 2019, 07:11 | Devin Moran

SUPPLIEDPassengers were awoken mid-flight by the pilot announcing Chinese authorities had not given the plane permission to land

Passengers were awoken mid-flight by the pilot announcing Chinese authorities had not given the plane permission to land

Some airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Hawaiian Holdings Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd., Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG cooperated with China's wishes on reference to Taiwan before last year's deadline.

New Zealand's Minister for Transport Phil Twyford said his staff told him of the diversion once the issue became public.

Air New Zealand did not respond to questions about a Taiwan link but said "as is required, the application includes a list of destinations the airline operates to, including Taipei".

Eric Hundman, an assistant professor at the Shanghai campus of New York University, told the New Zealand Herald the flight had taken as scheduled just before midnight on Saturday night.

"A technicality meant the particular aircraft operating this service did not have Chinese regulatory authority to land in China", the airline said.

Passengers said the captain informed them mid-flight the Air New Zealand plane was not allowed to land in China and would have to go back.




"It gets into the political situation and the way the different governments recognise or don't recognise states, and I would think Air New Zealand would be guided very much by what the New Zealand government position is ... therefore look at it in context of the New Zealand government's relationship with China".

Scheduling clashes happen - we all have to postpone sometimes. "Them (the opposition) spreading misinformation around issues like this flight, I have decided I see it as irresponsible and a real departure from what we have experienced on foreign policy before", she said.

Acknowledging that there are geopolitical tensions rupturing between China & NZ isn't being disloyal to Jacinda, it's the inevitability of forces well beyond our shores.

"It is the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism this year and China is the source of our second biggest group of tourists", Ardern said, adding that she has already received an invitation to visit China and both sides are working on the dates.

In November, New Zealand's intelligence agency rejected the telecommunication industry's first request to use Chinese telecoms giant Huawei's equipment in its planned 5G mobile network, citing national security concerns.

Back in October, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis was so excited by the coming China-New Zealand year of tourism that he posted an official statement on the Beehive website.



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