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U.S. airlines complying with China’s new airspace demands

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U.S. airline officials say they are complying with new State Department guidance urging carriers to alert China before any flights pass through that country’s new self-declared air-defense zone.

Airline officials said Saturday, November 30, that compliance would not disrupt travel to Asia, since they already communicate with any government when crossing through or over foreign territory.

“U.S. airlines’ flights are operating normally,” said Katie Connell, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an industry trade group. “We are in communication with both U.S. and Chinese civil aviation authorities and continue to follow standard international flight notification protocol and procedures.”

Although the U.S. has not recognized China’s new claim, the State Department on Friday said it had advised U.S. airlines to comply with China’s demand for advance notification of any flights through a new “air defense identification zone,” which Chinese officials first declared on Nov. 23.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S. air carriers were being advised to take all steps they consider necessary to operate safely in the East China Sea region.

U.S. airline officials said they could not provide data about the volume of civilian air traffic that passes through the disputed air space.

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