CITING supposedly shrinking numbers of Chinese tourists amid the tension over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, one of three Chinese major air carriers is cutting down the number of its flights to the Philippines.
An article on the Chinese government portal on Tuesday night said China Southern Airlines announced it will reduce flights between Guangzhou City and Manila to just once a day on certain dates from May 26 to June 30.
It quoted a spokesman for the airline as saying the adjustment was due to the cancellation of "a large number of tourist groups" lately.
The airline normally operates two flights daily on the route, the article said.
Major airlines serving the Chinese mainland and cities in the Philippines include Air China, China Southern, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air.
China earlier said major Chinese travel agencies canceled package tours to the Philippines following a travel safety advice issued by the National Tourism Administration earlier this month.
The advice stemmed from warnings by the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines of "massive anti-China demonstrations" related to the standoff.
Last Friday, protesters gathered in front of the Chinese consular office in Makati City to protest China's "bullying" in the shoal.
Filipino protests abroad
The standoff between the Philippines and China started in April, when Philippine military forces spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species in the area.
But before a Philippine Navy crew could make arrests, Chinese vessels blocked the Navy ship's path.
Last Sunday, China's tourism administration said almost all mainland Chinese on group tours will leave the Philippines by Wednesday.
China and the Philippines have also imposed fishing bans in areas near the disputed marine site. (GMA News)