The US Department of Transportation said that as of June 16th it would block Chinese airlines from flying into the US.
This is in response to what the US says is Beijing’s policy that has prevented US carriers from service between the two countries.
The Transportation Department said the Chinese government is violating an agreement between the two countries for international travel by preventing United Airlines and Delta Air Lines from resuming the trans-oceanic flights. Those airlines had asked to resume service on June 1st.
Service was earlier suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just hours after the Department made its announcement, China’s civil aviation regulator issued a notice that would effectively allow US carriers to resume limited services into the country.
China has failed to permit U.S. carriers to exercise their bilateral rights to conduct passenger air service to China. The Chinese government’s failure to approve their requests is a violation of our Air Transport Agreement.
— TransportationGov (@USDOT) June 3, 2020
The Transportation Department order said “Chinese aviation authorities have failed to permit US air carriers to” operate the routes they previously flew.
“The Department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both U.S. and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights,” the department said in a statement. “In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours.”
Since late March, to curb imported Covid-19 cases, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) had only permitted foreign passenger carriers to operate one weekly flight into China based on their mid-March schedule.
The US was excluded from this, because its airlines suspended all China flights.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have wanted to restart daily US-China flights in early June but the CAAC failed to respond to their requests, according to an earlier DOT statement.
In what appears unacceptable to the US, several Chinese passenger airlines have continued to fly between the two countries throughout the pandemic, though their flights are also limited to once a week.
The Chinese civil aviation regulator scrapped the mid-March benchmark but kept the weekly frequency cap for all airlines.
It also requires all carriers to comply with strict Chinese health regulations, announcing a mechanism to punish airlines whose passengers test positive for Covid-19 upon landing in China.
Those who land those without positive cases on board three weeks in a row will be rewarded with one additional weekly frequency.
The Chinese regulator also suggested that airlines may be able to increase flights to certain countries if risks are deemed low. The new rules take effect June 8th.
Of course, the US cannot comply with that since it doesn’t specifically and solely benefit its carriers, especially since with its nearly 2 million confirmed cases.
Every possible field is currently being turned into a sort of enclosed battlefield between the US and China – where and why COVID-19 started, flights between the countries, the South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and much more.
They are, of course, with variable degree of significance, but it is showing of a Cold War-like standoff and power competition that could potentially just be starting off.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- China Moving Towards Ending “Phase One” Trade Deal, Is Trade War Back On The Menu?
- Prospects For China-U. S. Relations After the Phase 1 Trade Deal