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China eases flight curbs after United States targets its carriers

  • Qualifying foreign carriers currently barred from operating flights to China will be allowed once-a-week flights into a city of their choosing starting on June 8, it said.
Published June 4, 2020

China said it will ease coronavirus restrictions to allow more foreign carriers to fly to the mainland, shortly after Washington vowed to bar Chinese airlines from flying to the United States due to Beijing’s curbs on American airlines.

Qualifying foreign carriers currently barred from operating flights to China will be allowed once-a-week flights into a city of their choosing starting on June 8, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a statement on Thursday.

The CAAC has slashed international flights since late March to allay concerns over rising coronavirus infections brought by arriving passengers.

A so-called “Five One” policy allows mainland carriers to fly just one flight a week on one route to any country and foreign airlines to operate just one flight a week to a city in China.

Carriers could also fly no more than the number of flights in a weekly schedule approved by the CAAC on March 12.

But because U.S. passenger airlines had stopped all flights by March 12, they have been unable to resume flights to China. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday said it would bar Chinese passenger carriers from flying into America from June 16, pressuring Beijing to let U.S. airlines to resume flights to the country.

The U.S. Department of Transportation could not be immediately reached for comment. The department has said it will reconsider its order against Chinese airlines if the CAAC adjusts its policies affecting U.S. airlines.

The CAAC said all airlines will be allowed to increase the number of international flights involving China to a maximum of two per week if no passengers on their flights test positive for COVID-19 for three consecutive weeks.

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