SINGAPORE, Aug 5 — National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) cancelled two scheduled flights on Friday (Aug 5) due to the “evolving airspace restrictions” as a result of China’s military drills near Taiwan.

In response to TODAY’s queries on Thursday night, SIA said that the affected flights are SQ878 and SQ879.

SQ878 flies from Singapore to Taipei; SQ879 flies from Taipei to Singapore.

A check by TODAY on the Changi Airport website showed that both flights have been cancelled. SQ878 was supposed to depart Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 11.45am on Friday, while SQ879 was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 10.15pm later in the day.

SIA said that the safety of its customers and employees remains its “top priority”.

“SIA will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any adjustments, as necessary,” it said.

“SIA customers who booked directly with us may use our Assistance Request Form to make booking changes or seek a refund. Those who require urgent assistance may also reach out to their local Singapore Airlines reservation office.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) told the media that China had sent out a notice to airmen on Tuesday, stating that it prohibits aircraft flying into “identified areas affected by live firing exercises”, which were set to take place from Thursday to Sunday.

CAAS added that Singapore carriers have since taken note of the notice as part of their standard operating procedures and “are avoiding the affected areas”.

China on Thursday began a series of unprecedented military drills near Taiwan following a visit there by Mrs Nancy Pelosi, US House of Representatives Speaker. Mrs Pelosi was the highest-ranked American official to set foot in Taiwan in 25 years.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV said that the series of drills began at 12pm on Thursday and is scheduled to end at noon on Sunday. The drills would include live firing on the waters as well as the airspace surrounding Taiwan.

On Thursday evening, Japan said that it has lodged a formal protest with China after ballistic missiles fired by the military giant are believed to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time.

Japan’s defence minister Nobuo Kishi said that the matter is “a serious problem that affects our national security and the safety of our citizens”, news agency AFP reported.

Taipei’s defence ministry on Thursday evening also reported that 22 Chinese jets had crossed the “median line” running down the Taiwan Straits.

The “median line” is an unofficial border that runs through the middle of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China. — TODAY