At least four Chinese travel booking platforms said they will no longer book flights on Malaysia Airlines. The strained relationship between the countries comes in the year intended to be a “year of friendship”
Chinese travel booking websites ELong, LY.com, Qunar and Mango recently announced that they would no longer be booking flights on Malaysia Airlines due to the plane that went missing earlier this month.
In a statement on its website, ELong on March 27 said that two passengers on flight MH370 had booked their flights through its platform and that it would provide 100,000 yuan ($16,222) to their families.
“We want to find out the truth as soon as possible to meet the demands of families related,” ELong wrote in Chinese on their website. “We will make every efforts for these two passengers!”
ELong called the reaction time of the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines outrageous and said it would not book flights on the airlines unless an understanding is reached on the missing plane.
For its part, LY.com said it would offer full refunds to clients wishing to cancel bookings on Malaysia Airlines’ flights and would not book Malaysia Airlines flights until it “sorts out the truth and offers a satisfactory explanation to all the victims and the Chinese people.”
The end of the year of friendship
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing with 239 passengers on March 8 and the plane has yet to be found despite several debris sightings. On March 24 the Malaysian government announced that “beyond any doubt” the passengers had perished in the Indian Ocean. The announcement was met with backlash from families of the passengers, who were angry with the way the disappearance was handled.
Many believe the missing flight will damage Malaysia-China relations, which were established in 1974. Ironically, 2014 was dubbed “Malaysia-China Friendship Year” during an August 2012 consultation meeting between the two countries in Beijing to celebrate forty years of diplomatic relations.
Since the plane went missing, the two countries have been making numerous accusations against each other. For example, China was first to release satellite images of debris, but the pictures were a dead end in the search. The Malaysian government called the pictures a distraction from the real search. Protesters in China have also accused Malaysia of deception and delays in solving the mystery of the missing plane.
With the animosity between the countries, we’re guessing there won’t be much tourism or business for the travel sites on Malaysia Airlines anyway.
Photo credit: Shutterstock, airplane taxiing