The Trump administration has decided to block Chinese commercial airlines from flying to the U.S. The Department of Transportation (DOT) mentioned it would suspend travel privileges of Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines starting June 16.
DOT stated that: “The Department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both US and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights. In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours.”
Delta and United want to restart routes to China
Seeing as this is a back-and-forth situation, both Delta and United want to restart their lucrative routes to China next month. They have submitted applications to resume flights to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), after suspending flights for 2 months due to the pandemic.
The CAAC ordered all airlines to use their flight schedules from March 16 to 22 as their baseline for how many flights can logistically be operated to and from China. This was to prevent foreigners from bringing imported cases of the virus to China. But Delta and United have no benchmark, as they already stopped flying to Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities by those dates.
China violated the agreement
According to the Transportation Department, China was violating an agreement between the two countries covering flights by each other’s airlines. The Associated Press stated that there were about 325 passenger flights a week between the United States and China, before the pandemic. These included ones operated by United, Delta, and American Airlines. While U.S. carriers stopped their flights, Chinese airlines continued to fly about 20 times a week between the two countries in mid-February. That increased to 34 flights a week by mid-March.
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