US China Flights

US China Flights: A trade in barbs

I’m sure we have all heard of the issues surrounding flights between China and the US. On June 3rd, the Trump administration announced a suspension of Chinese-operated flights between the two countries. By June 5th, the stance softened to a limit of 2 flights a week. Here is what happened:


US China Flights-COVID

During the COVID outbreak, both countries introduced travel restrictions to curb the spread of the disease. China, specifically, limited foreign airlines to one flight per week on March 26 2020. During this time, airlines had few flights operating. In fact, Delta, American, and United all completely stopped flying to China for a period of time. However now that flights were re-starting, the US airlines were facing a hurdle. They were not allowed to operate flights at all after temporarily stopping them.

US response to China flight restrictions

Multiple US carriers have been pressuring the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to allow them to resume service, however the CAAC did not respond. There was also no such restrictions on Chinese airlines, allowing them to operate limited flights to the US. In response to this, the Trump administration announced the ban on all Chinese operated flights, citing an agreement that guarantees equal opportunities for flights between the US and China.

China’s Move

The CAAC then responded the day after, allowing flights for Delta and United. These were the two airlines petitioning the CAAC. However, there was one big limitation: each airline was only allowed the one flight per week.

The US DOT loosened their restrictions in turn. They also allowed two flights per week for Chinese airlines- which airlines will serve those flights was left up to the CAAC. 

Will things stay this way?

There is definitely a need for more than 4 flights a week between China and the US. That being said, current relations between the two countries are frosty at best. 

Eventually these restrictions will be lifted. When exactly that will happen, however, is a different question.

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