Aviation-tracking website Flightradar24 announced that the plane it believes was carrying U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was the most followed live flight of all time on its service.
The Boeing C-40C, with the call sign SPAR19, reportedly had more than 700,000 people following its movements prior to landing.
“At the peak, 708,000 people were tracking SPAR19. That sets a new record for live tracking,” Ian Petchenik, Flightradar24’s director of communications, told FOX Business in a statement.
“From the time it lifted off from Kuala Lumpur at 15:42 local time, SPAR19 was already the most tracked flight on Flightradar24 among active flights,” the website also said in a blog post.
Petchenik told FOX Business that Flightradar24’s previous most-tracked flight was when Putin critic Alexei Navalny was returning home to Russia after surviving a suspected poisoning attempt. That flight had 550,000 users following at its peak.
Pelosi, who is conducting an extensive tour of multiple allied nations in Asia, touched down at approximately 10:45 a.m. EST in Taiwan despite repeated threats to the speaker’s safety and firm opposition from China.
Our visit is one of several congressional delegations to Taiwan, and it in no way contradicts longstanding United States policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances,” Pelosi said in a statement after arrival. “The United States continues to oppose unilateral efforts to change the status quo.”
Pelosi is the first House speaker to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich in 1997, and the Taiwanese government has been eager to host the speaker. Diplomatic trips of this level could serve to provide Taiwan legitimacy on the world stage.
China has issued stern warnings against such a visit in previous weeks, including threats from government officials and TV personalities. And President Biden revealed weeks ago that the U.S. military “thinks it’s not a good idea right now