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U.S. officials modify ban on Chinese airlines

Jun 06. 2020
Photo credit: Skift
Photo credit: Skift
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By The Washington Post · Lori Aratani · NATIONAL, WORLD, HEALTH, POLITICS, WHITEHOUSE, TRANSPORTATION, THE-AMERICAS, ASIA-PACIFIC

U.S. officials on Friday pulled back on their plan to severely restrict Chinese airlines from offering commercial passenger service to the United States, saying they would now allow those carriers to operate the same number of flights that China is allowing U.S. carriers to operate between the two countries.

The move comes after China announced changes to rules that had previously barred U.S. carriers from restarting air service between the United States and China. On Thursday, China announced changes to rules the would allow international carriers, including U.S. airlines to operate one weekly flight each between the two countries. The number of flights could be increased if carriers met certain conditions related to the health status of passengers. The shift clears the way for Delta and United airlines to restart service between the two countries.

Beijing revised its policy after U.S. officials announced Wednesday that they would ban Chinese airlines from offering service between the U.S. and China beginning June 16 due to limitations on American carriers. While not an outright ban, the move by U.S. officials would have sharply limited the number of flights operated by Chinese airlines. Currently, Chinese airlines operate 34 weekly flights between the two countries; Chinese carriers would have been limited to two weekly scheduled flights.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation said despite revising the restrictions, they remain concerned by China's reluctance to abide by a 1980 agreement on civil aviation operations between the two countries.

"We are troubled by China's continued unilateral dictation of the terms of the U.S.-China scheduled passenger air transportation market without respect for the right of U.S. carriers under the Agreement," according to a modified notice issued by the department, Friday.

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