Ops to Taiwan? You’ll have to avoid China

By David Mumford

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We’ve had lots of questions on this subject lately. So here’s what you need to know:

  • Foreign-registered aircraft are prohibited from operating direct between China and Taiwan.
  • You’ve got to make a tech stop somewhere between the two countries – most choose to do so in either VHHH/Hong Kong or VMMC/Macau.
  • Importantly, the same rules apply for China overflights – if you’re flying to Taiwan from any third country, you can’t overfly China. 
  • Only Chinese and Taiwanese registered aircraft are able to operate direct between China and Taiwan.

The Chinese authorities are reluctant to provide any kind of official document stating any of this – we haven’t been able to find any precise wording anywhere in their AIP which states these restrictions.

To test the theory, we applied to the Chinese authorities for a landing permit for a direct flight from Taiwan to China. After we applied, we received an immediate call from CAAC emphasising that they will not deal with such applications for foreign registered aircraft. They advised they will not process this application and verbally rejected it.

The Chinese authorities circulate an official document to Chinese handling agents about this issue, which sets out the rules quite clearly. For some reason, they don’t like these to be distributed outside of China… so naturally, we got our hands on a translated copy:

There’s one more scenario that is apparently also not allowed:

You can’t overfly both China and Taiwan and then land in a third country. For example: you’re departing from RPLL/Manilla in the Philippines, then overflying Taiwan (RCAA FIR), then overflying China (ZSHA FIR), and then landing in a third country like RKSI/Seoul in South Korea – according to the Chinese authorities, this is not allowed, and they won’t issue an overflight permit!

More information:

  • If you are planning any flights to China anytime soon, make sure you know about the hidden costs of operating there here.
  • If you want to know exactly how to get your landing or overflight permits, check out our Permit Book – this tells you how to get a permit for each and every country in the world!

More on the topic:

More reading:

David Mumford

David Mumford

OPSGROUP Helmsman of the B's: Blog, Bulletin, and Briefs. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

One Comment

  • Peter says:

    Hello Opsgroup,

    I have a question regarding of a FPL between Taiwan to China and vice versa.
    I noticed in the China AIP, a Flight Routes for Regional Flight Route Nr2205 (EFF202205 181600UTC), there are bunch of Preferred route from Taiwan to China, such as RCKH to ZBTJ, or RXCK to ZBAA, or RCSS to ZSPD, RCTP to ZGSZ, or vice versa from China to Taiwan such as ZGGG to RCKH, ZUCK to RCTP, or ZSSS to RCKH. So are these route is only reserved for Chinese Registry aircraft as well as Taiwanese Registry aircraft only? For the foreign aircraft registry, the CAAC will not approve China permit number for them by using those preferred route, is that correct? The preferred route can also find in the Jeppesen Airway Manual – China – Preferred route system.

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