Jun 04, 2020 06:33 PM

Update: Charts of the Day: Cancelations Make Flying From China to Europe, North America Challenging

China’s Covid-19 outbreak may be easing, but the country is still taking a conservative approach to international air travel to prevent a second wave of infections coming into its borders from abroad.

The country enacted a draconian policy in late March limiting all domestic airlines to one international flight per week to any other country. Similarly, it said that any foreign carrier could only operate one flight into China each week. It extended that policy on May 20, and hasn’t indicated when the policy might end.


The policy also froze the number of flights into China that any airline could operate at no more than the level of service they were offering as of March 12. But since many foreign carriers had canceled all their flights to China at that point, they are now barred from resuming such flights — something many have protested as they say they want to come back.

After weeks of pressuring China on the issue, the U.S. took decisive action on Wednesday by launching a reciprocal ban on all Chinese airlines from flying passenger flights to the U.S. effective June 16. Just hours later, China’s aviation regulator announced it would allow foreign airlines that were previously locked out by the earlier policy to resume limited flights to China.

Flights between the U.S. and China reflect the broader situation. In the beginning of January before the pandemic, there were 325 scheduled flights each week between the two countries. But by the middle of February, only four Chinese airlines were operating 20 flights between the two countries weekly. They had raised that to 34 per week by mid-March.


The following is a graphic of current flights to Europe and North America by major Chinese airlines based on their June plans. In most or all cases, each route is limited to a single flight per week. Caixin will publish a similar graphic detailing flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand destinations on Thursday.

Contact reporter Yang Ge ( and editor Gavin Cross (

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