IATA asks for political disputes to spare airlines

Taipei, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments Wednesday to sort out their political differences so that airlines are not caught in the middle, in response to Beijing's latest attempt to belittle Taiwan in the global air transport sector.

The trade association of the world's airlines said that it and its member airlines are "non-political businesses serving many global markets and have no wish to make political statements in how they designate those markets."

The IATA asked that governments follow global standards, and where there are no such standards, or where there are gaps in how they are implemented, should find a solution to avoid an impact on the market.

"An inter-governmental agreement on the naming and grouping of states and territories would be a helpful reference," the IATA said, referring to China's putting pressure to dozens of international airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials.

Meanwhile, the IATA said airlines wishing to serve the China market are doing their best to comply with China's very stringent requirements.

"For many, it is a substantial task involving the re-programming of multiple platforms. In recognition of the considerable work involved, IATA has asked the Chinese authorities to allow for an extension of the tight timeframe," it said.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced Beijing's attempts to manipulate the global aviation market.

In a statement, the ministry said China recently delivered a letter to the IATA and its members to pressure them into belittling Taiwan's designation on their official websites.

Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration has also sent a message to IATA Chairman Alexandre de Juniac expressing Taiwan's concerns and calling on IATA to take action that will eventually lead China to "correct its wrong practices."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel