Taiwan Dispute: More Kalibo Flights Cancelled

As the controversy over the death of a fisherman between the Philippines and Taiwan continues to unfold, the industry being hit the hardest is the tourism industry.

taiwan philippines
Copyright Photo:Chiang Ying-ying/AP
The international controversy could not have come at a worst time as airlines and hotels take advantage of the peak summer travel season. Taiwan is Boracay's second largest tourist market. Hotels all over Boracay are reporting cancellations including one hotel that reported cancellations involving 187 rooms and 296 guests alone over the period of May to July.

Zest Air first announced that its charter service between Taiwan and Kalibo would be cancelled at the request of its charter agent in Taiwan. Following Zest Air's announcement, Philippine Airlines has been forced to cancel flights as well as China Airlines.

Cancellations of flights from Kalibo break down as follows:
  • Zest Air: 18 flights from May 20 to June 30
  • Philippine Airlines: 18 flights from May 20 to June 30
  • China Airlines: 7 flights from May 22 to June 30
In addition to the cancellation of flights, the Civil Aeronautics Administration of Taiwan said that it has decided to put discussions on hold that would seek amendments to the air service agreement between the Philippines and Taiwan until the dispute is over. An amendment is being sought in order to accommodate a third airline from the Philippines that wishes to operate flights between Manila and Taipei.

Under the current agreement, each country is permitted two airlines to operate regular flights between Manila and Taipei. The Philippines designated Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific while Taiwan assigned China Airlines and EVA Airways. An initial meeting was held last year in which concensus could not be reached and as a result, a second meeting was planned for this year. While no discussions of a flight ban are being considered as part of the dispute, if one were to take place, Taiwan would have more to lose as Taiwanese carriers offer more flights per week than their counterparts in the Philippines.


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