Authorities in the US cut some flights by four Chinese carriers after Beijing stopped some services by US carriers after the discovery of COVID cases.
Government in the United States
The government in the United States has told it will suspend 44 China-bound flights from the US by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some US airlines’ flights over worries about COVID-19.
- The suspensions will start on January 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight and resume until March 29, the Department of Transportation told.
Chinese authorities have stopped 20 United Airlines, 10 American Airlines, and 14 Delta Air Lines flights since December 31, after some passengers tested positive for COVID-19. As recently as Tuesday, the Department of Transportation told the Chinese government had declared new US flight cancellations
Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, told on Friday the policy for international passenger flights coming to China had “been applied equally to Chinese and foreign airlines in a fair, open and transparent way”.
He called the US activity“very unreasonable” and counted, “We urge the US side to stop disrupting and restricting the normal passenger flights” by Chinese airlines.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing the three US carriers impacted by China’s move along with others, told it supported Washington’s action “to confirm the fair treatment of US airlines in the Chinese market”.
China has also suspended numerous US flights
It told China’s suspension of the 44 flights was “averse to the public interest and warrant proportionate remedial action”. It told that China’s “unilateral actions against the named US carriers are inconsistent” with a bilateral agreement.
China has also suspended numerous US flights by Chinese carriers after passengers later tested positive.
The department told it was prepared to revisit its action if China revised its “policies to bring about the necessarily improved situation for US carriers”. It warned that if China cancels more flights, “we reserve the right to take additional activity.”
China has all but closed its borders to travelers, canceling entire international flights to just 200 a week, or 2 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) told in September.
The number of US flights being scrapped has surged since December, as infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus soared to record highs in the US.
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Beijing and Washington have sparred over air services since the beginning of the pandemic. In August, the US Department of Transportation limited four flights from Chinese carriers to 40 percent passenger capacity for four weeks after Beijing set identical limits on four United Airlines flights.
Before the recent cancellations, three US airlines and four Chinese carriers were running about 20 flights a week between the countries, well below the figure of more than 100 per week before the pandemic.
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