China announces the activation of new air routes near Taiwan’s restricted airspace

Taipei: The Civil Aviation Administration of China recently announced the launch of new air routes to the cities of Xiamen and Fuzhou, which are in close proximity to the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu, Taiwan News reported.

This development, announced on Friday, April 19, relates to the controversial M503 flight path that runs along the sensitive center line in the Taiwan Strait, an area that has long been an unofficial dividing line between Taiwan and China, traditionally avoided by fighter planes from both sides.

Furthermore, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) spokesperson Chien Chih-hung said in February that China’s “unilateral activation” of the W122 and W123 routes would have a “major impact on the flight safety of Kinmen and Matsu,” Taiwan News reported with reference to Rti.

Previously, Chien stated that flights operated only in a westerly direction, allowing coordination and ensuring the safety of flight routes. Chien said the eastbound flights would “affect Taiwan’s existing air routes, raising major concerns about flight safety risks.”

According to Taiwan News, Damien Symon, an open-source intelligence researcher, uploaded a map on February 1 showing the proximity of the changed route to the center line and the Taiwan FIR.

Symon emphasized that the modified routes will be close to the air force’s military patrol zones, which are intended as strategic buffer zones against People’s Liberation Army aircraft.

Regarding the announcement, the CAAC said the eastbound W122 and W123 routes will connect to the M503 flight path, adding that on May 16, the arrival and departure airspace over the Fuzhou Changle International Airport will be “further optimized and adjusted” , according to Taiwan News. . Later, the government claimed that this “optimization of the airspace in Fujian Province” and adjustments to the operation of the M503 route and its connecting flight routes will be conducive to meeting the “development needs” of aviation transport between the Yangtze River Delta and the Guangdong-Hong region. Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as the southeastern coastal areas.

The intended purpose of these adjustments is to streamline operational conditions, prioritize flight safety, increase preparedness for the thunderstorm season, improve flight punctuality and meet passenger travel needs.

The CAAC announced in January that effective February 1, the flight compensation measure for route M503 flying north to south would be canceled, meaning Chinese flights flying south across the Taiwan Strait would be closer to the centerline and the Taiwan Flight Information Region would come. FIR).

The CAAC also planned to allow eastbound W122 and W123 routes to “improve the efficiency of airspace operations.” These routes connect route M503 with Fuzhou and Xiamen.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has tracked Chinese military aircraft 136 times and naval ships 98 times this month. (ANI)

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