Air New Zealand did not immediately respond to a Stuff’s request for comment. (Bloomberg/File)
An Air New Zealand plane on its way to Shanghai was forced to return to Auckland after several hours in the air on Saturday because paperwork for the flight included a reference to Taiwan, Stuff reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The problem related to documentation from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority which was included as part of Air New Zealand’s application to allow the aircraft to land in China, the report said. Officials in Beijing had warned the airline to remove any references which suggested Taiwan was a state, however the issue was not resolved, according to the report.
During a press conference in Beijing Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying blamed the flight’s temporary deployment hiccup as the reason it was not authorized to land in China, citing news reports she read online.
Air New Zealand did not immediately respond to a Stuff’s request for comment.
Some airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Hawaiian Holdings Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd., Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG cooperated with China’s wishes on reference to Taiwan before last year’s deadline.
China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the nationalist Kuomintang government fled to Taiwan after the civil war defeat in the 1940s. China’s Communist Party regards the island as its territory to be taken by force if necessary.