JAL and ANA put unwitting civilian passengers through contested airspace
China’s newly declared air defense zone over a disputed area of the East China Sea has drawn the ire of quite a few countries, including the U.S. and neighboring Japan. While it’s not surprising to see the U.S. continuing to send its usual military flights through the area unflinchingly, the fact that Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are putting civilian flights in harms way is ethically, legally and morally wrong. They are deliberately risking passengers who did not volunteer to be part of a military/political exercise.
ANA and Japan Airlines on Wednesday [November 27] stopped sending Chinese authorities their flight plans for routes to Taiwan and other destinations that pass through the zone.
The carriers had been handing over the information since Saturday, but changed their minds after Japan’s government told them it would ensure the safety of their flights, a spokesman from JAL told Reuters.
The government, according to the airlines, said it had won an assurance from China that its aim was not to restrict commercial flights, but did not elaborate on how it would guarantee the security of their aircraft.
The Japanese carriers posted a notice of the change on their websites, although passengers said they had not been contacted directly about the revision.
What the Japanese airlines SHOULD be doing is flying alternate routes for the time being, and focusing on crisis management efforts meant to inform passengers thoroughly as to why any added inconvenience or delays are in their best interest. But they’re maintaining their insane stance even as of this writing.
We sincerely hope this isn’t yet another situation where tragedy has to strike before the right lessons are learned, but right now that remains a possibility.
The BCM Blogging Team