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Under pressure from China, American Airlines drops 'Taiwan' from airport designation

As the July 25 deadline arrived, American Airlines compromised by only listing city airports with no country designation, similar changes expected from Delta and United over the next day or two

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Under pressure from China, American Airlines drops 'Taiwan' from airport designation

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The deadline imposed on airline carriers by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) demanding that they alter their designations of Taiwan to reflect Taiwan as a province of China was July 25.

It was reported by many news media outlets on July 24 that major U.S. carriers including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., and Hawaiian Holdings Inc. were all expected to bow to Chinese pressure and change their designations of Taiwan.

As of 12:00a.m. July 25 U.S. Eastern Standard Time, the United Airlines and Delta Airlines websites, in Chinese and English, both continued to designate Taiwan using the country code of “TW” with no reference to China.

However, Bloomberg reports that changes are to be expected over the next day or two. Meanwhile American Airlines has opted to list only city airport names with no mention of China or Taiwan in the listing.

The demand made by China was that Taiwan should not be designated as an independent nation, which means Beijing did not want “Taiwan” displayed after the city where a country name or abbreviation would typically appear.

In a move reflecting some degree of compromise, American Airlines opted to display the city and airport name only, excluding designation of any country. Japanese airlines also adopted a similar strategy to appease authorities in Beijing.

American Airlines designation of Taiwan’s airports on website dropdown menus appears as Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE), Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA), and simply Kaohsiung (KHH). Notably, typing “Taiwan” into the input field will not yield any results.

Under pressure from China, American Airlines drops 'Taiwan' from airport designation

Similarly, the Hawaiian Airlines website dropdown menu now displays “Taipei, Taipei” for its designation of Taipei Taoyuan International Airport.

Late Tuesday afternoon U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert made a statement that the U.S. opposes China’s continued attempts to force the use of political language on to private companies.

“This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a previous statement.

While United and Delta have yet to make any changes or issue any direct statements a representative with “Airlines for America,” a trade group representing the aviation industry in the U.S., was quoted by Reuters as saying that changes were being made.