U.S. airlines including American, Delta, and United are poised to capitulate to Chinese demands to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as separate nations.
Last time I wrote about this, U.S. airlines had collectively deferred to the U.S. government, saying they would take advice from the State Department.
It appears a final decision has been made. Reuters reports:
A U.S. airline executive briefed on the issue told Reuters that the U.S. State Department notified China’s embassy in Washington late on Monday of the decision by U.S. airlines to only list certain destinations by city on both Chinese and English websites, and not refer to Taiwan as a jurisdiction.
Another source in Beijing said he was informed unofficially by the U.S. government that airlines would only use certain city names in the future.
A senior U.S. government official said the change was ultimately the airlines’ choice to make.
So it looks like Beijing has scored a diplomatic victory here. Tomorrow, July 25th, is the official “final” deadline, so we will see by morning if the airline websites have been updated. As of now, Taiwan and Hong Kong still appear as separate countries on the websites of Delta and United. Taiwan has already been removed from the AA U.S. website as a separate country/region.