The Emirati airliner is under fire from Taiwan, which indicates that Taiwanese cabin crew of the airliner have been instructed to remove the Taiwanese flag pin from the uniform, an instruction Taipei believes came from Beijing.
Taiwan foreign ministry noted that on Wednesday it notified Fly Emirates of its disapproval, Reuters reports.
The Dubai-based carrier reportedly via an email last week asked its Taiwanese cabin crew “to use the Chinese flag instead of Taiwanese flag pins.” The new policy is reportedly imposed by Beijing, which claims the small island is part of mainland China.
“A few hours later the company e-mailed to apologize, and said the request was not correct and was not appropriate, but that it still asked Taiwanese crew members to not wear any flag badge, including our flag,” the ministry said in a statement.
Beijing still considers Taiwan as one its provinces founded by nationalists who fled mainland in 1949 following defeat to Communists in the three-year civil war.
Emirates pointed out that the email was a communication error adding that its cabin crew are no longer required to wear a flag pin.
“This email was sent in error and has since been retracted. Our intent is to recall the flag pins worn by all our cabin crew as part of our uniform update,” an Emirates spokeswoman said.
“All cabin crew are no longer required to wear a flag pin as part of their uniform. Emirates apologises for the communication error.”
Questioned on the incident, the Chinese foreign ministry indicated that it was not aware.
Mainland China is an important aviation market for the Emirati airliner with five destinations. China is set to become the world’s largest aviation market by 2024, overtaking the US, Reuters reports.