January 30, 2018 / 2:39 AM / 3 months ago

REFILE-China Eastern says cancels flights amid routes row with Taiwan

(Corrects spelling of Taiwan in headline)

SHANGHAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - China Eastern Airlines said on Tuesday it has been forced to cancel 106 round-trip flights to Taiwan around the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday amid a row between Beijing and Taiwan over flight routes.

The carrier said on its official Weibo microblog it had no choice but to cancel the flights, which had been added to its usual schedule to accommodate high holiday demand, after what it said was a refusal by Taiwanese authorities to approve the flights.

It said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with the failure to approve the routes and denounced the action.

A Taiwanese regulatory official said this month that Taiwan had yet to approve applications from China Eastern and China’s Xiamen Airlines to add 176 new flights across the Taiwan Strait during the Lunar New Year holiday because in recent weeks the airlines had used disputed air routes close to the island.

Those routes were created by Beijing without consultation with Taiwan.

Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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