There’s a new twist in the Air New Zealand 787 diversion story…it appears China denied the aircraft landing rights over a reference to Taiwan on the flight paperwork.
In case you missed my story yesterday, an Air New Zealand 787-9 enroute from Auckland to Shanghai was forced to turn around five hours into the flight and return to Auckland. The particular 787-9 operating the flight was one of Air New Zealand’s recent deliveries and had not been fully registered with the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) of China.
Initially, that seemed to be the problem: the registration simply had not been processed. But today we learn of a new twist in the story, first reported by Stuff News. Apparently, Air New Zealand submitted an old version of the paperwork to Chinese authorities. Part of the requisite paperwork requires listing what destinations the aircraft serves. Air New Zealand listed “Taipei, Taiwan” as one of the destinations.
China had warned Air New Zealand to remove any references to Taiwan as a separate nation from its paperwork in 2018, but the carrier “forgot” to do so on the paperwork for this particular aircraft. Consequently, China punished Air New Zealand by denying the aircraft authority to land in Shanghai.
Yesterday I blamed Air New Zealand and today I’ll add some blame the People’s Republic of China. Ultimately, Air New Zealand knew the requirements and did not follow them. That remains unchanged. But if the issue was one reference to Taiwan, talk about a case of petty overreaction. The insecurity and fear of the People’s Republic over the Republic of China is a fascinating geopolitical chess game that airlines continue to be unwitting participants in.
image: Air New Zealand