Caixin
Jun 04, 2020 04:05 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

Trump Blocks Chinese Airline Passenger Flights to U.S.

The U.S. government would block Chinese passenger airlines, including Air China, from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16.
The U.S. government would block Chinese passenger airlines, including Air China, from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16.
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The Trump administration will bar all Chinese passenger carriers from flying to the United States in response to a Chinese policy preventing American airlines from resuming services to China, the administration said Wednesday.

The flight ban is set to take effect June 16 but can be enacted sooner on the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The decision is in response to the Chinese government barring U.S. carriers from conducting scheduled passenger air services to and from China, the department said.

U.S. airlines voluntarily stopped flying to China in early February as the country’s Covid-19 epidemic intensified. Some carriers have recently sought to resume service to China but couldn’t do so under Beijing’s policy of extending restrictions on international flights instated during the pandemic.

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The Trump administration order applies to all Chinese airlines including Air China, China Eastern Airlines Corp., China Southern Airlines Co., Hainan Airlines Holding Co., Beijing Capital Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines, the Transportation Department said.

The move escalates tensions between the U.S. and China. Washington has pressed Beijing to allow American carriers to resume flights to China after China’s civil aviation regulator said last month it would extend the so-called “Five-One” policy, which limits domestic airlines to one international flight a week to any other country and any foreign carrier to one flight into China each week.

The policy, which was rolled out March 29 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, also froze the number of flights that any airline could operate into China at no more than the level of service they were offering as of March 12. That condition effectively precluded all U.S. carriers and those from many other countries from restoring flights as they had already canceled service to China at that point.

Caixin has learned that the three main American carriers — Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines — applied as early as April to resume some flights but were barred from doing so.

On May 22, the U.S. required that all Chinese airlines flying between the two countries submit their plans at least 30 days in advance of actual flights, aiming to pressure Beijing to allow American carriers to resume flights to China.

Yang Ge contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com)


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