Qantas Airways check-in counter at Sydney International Airport in Australia
A passenger walks with their luggage as they approach a Qantas Airways check-in counter at Sydney International Airport in Australia, October 25, 2017. Picture taken October 25, 2017. Reuters/Steven Saphore

Qantas Airways will be referring to Taiwan as a Chinese territory. The Australian flag carrier has announced that it would be changing its website to refer to Taiwan as territory of China, and not an independent nation, to comply with Beijing’s demands.

China’s aviation regulator gave dozens of airlines until May 25 to stop referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as independent countries. Taiwan, which is officially called the Republic of China (ROC), is viewed by China (People’s Republic of China) as a renegade province that should be reunited with the mainland. Hong Kong and Macau, on the other hand, were European colonies that have been returned to China.

On Monday, CEO Alan Joyce said the airline would comply with China’s request to change references to Taiwan on Qantas websites and other materials. However, he added that they needed extra time to do that.

“Our intention is to meet the requirements. It is just taking time to get there,” ‘he said at the International Air Transport Association on Monday. The removal of any reference to Taiwan as an independent nation echoes Australia’s support of China’s “One China” policy.

Qantas international unit CEO Alison Webster also said that the decision was not influenced by the company’s partnership with China Eastern Airlines Corp. She also explained that they needed the extra time to comply because they had “some complexity” to work on.

Meanwhile, with fuel costs rising rapidly, Joyce said the airline would be retiring its Boeing Co 747s more quickly than they originally forecast. They would replace them with twin-engine 787s.

“It will be a bittersweet moment when those aircraft will go, but it also helps us manage the increase in fuel prices,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying. “The 787s are going to give us a big benefit this year on our international operation.”