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China will allow U.S. flights after Trump administration threatens ban on Chinese airlines

China will Allow U.S. Flights After Trump Administration Threatens Ban on Chinese Airlines

BEIJING – China said on Thursday that it would allow US airlines to resume limited service to China, a day after the Trump administration said that it would ban Chinese airlines to and from the United States from mid-June.
It is not immediately clear whether the United States will go ahead with its ban on Chinese airlines, as China eases its restrictions on American carriers.
On Wednesday, a statement from the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) announcing the suspension of service from Chinese carriers to the United States said that the ministry “will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government authorizes ours”.
The Beijing decision on Thursday is a rare example of de-escalation in US-China affairs. Relations between the two countries are at their worst in decades, as disputes over the coronavirus, technology restrictions and actions from Beijing to Hong Kong have widened the gap between the two countries as the first-phase trade deal in January did not take place.
The ban on Chinese airlines by the United States was in itself a response to the decision of the Chinese airline authorities not to recognize calls made in May by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to resume flights to China in June.
Trump administration ban, if enacted, would block seven Chinese airlines, including Air China, which took 19% of the 8.5 million passengers who traveled between the U.S. and China on flights direct in 2018, according to the latest available data.
United carried approximately 17% of passengers on direct flights between the United States and China, and Delta transported more than 10% of passengers in 2018.
When the Chinese aviation authorities reduced the number of foreign airlines’ flights to China to one per week on March 26 amid the pandemic, the three main American carriers – American Airlines, United and Delta – had already voluntarily stopped operating to China due to the spread of the coronavirus within China.
The coronavirus has decimated the global air travel industry. As the first country hit by the coronavirus epidemic, China was also the first to cut air travel.
Domestic air travel in China fell from 12,814 flights on January 23 to 1,662 flights on February 13 after flight cancellations and government-imposed travel restrictions.
International flights to China also fell, from 2,032 flights departing on January 23 to 354 on February 13.
The measures in question only concern passenger flights.
Freight flights, including unused passenger aircraft reused as cargo carriers, continue to fly between the United States and China.
According to the US DOT press release, the ban on Chinese carriers will come into force on June 16, but could start before that date “if the president orders it.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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