Several airlines have canceled their flights to Taiwan, amid China’s military drills in six maritime areas near the island. Among the companies that have called off flights for safety reasons are Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines. In addition, a Japan Airlines flight decided to return to Japan after almost reaching Taiwan’s east coast on Thursday. A former pilot says making detours to avoid dangerous areas can add on fuel costs for airlines. Let’s hear from him.

Chang Chih-hao

Former pilot

Because the longer you have to fly, the more fuel you need to take with you. The more fuel you load, the heavier the plane is. And the heavier the plane is, the more fuel you need. It’s a vicious circle. There are also flight rules on things like crew shifts and rests. So if the airline requires more staff, that adds on extra labor costs, increasing the financial burden.

Wang Kwo-tsai

Transport minister

The bigger impact was on flights that pass by the Taipei Flight Information Region. Previously, we had about 300 flights a day passing by. Yesterday, there were just 150. So that’s about half of the flights that fly through the Taipei FIR.

Taoyuan International Airport says a total of 47 flights were canceled on Friday.