US to cancel flights from Chinese airlines

While the Chinese authorities refuse to allow US airlines to resume operations in China despite the closure, the Trump administration has decided to temporarily ban flights from Chinese companies from and to the United States.

New escalation in the Washington-Beijing quarrel. Donald Trump’s administration will temporarily ban flights from Chinese airlines to and from the United States as of June 16.

This ban aims to respond to the Chinese authorities’ refusal to allow US airlines to resume operations in China despite the closure, the Ministry of Transport (DoT) announced on Wednesday. It is not excluded that the implementation of this measure will take place before June 16 if President Donald Trump decides.

The ban affects seven Chinese companies, including behemoths Air China and China Eastern Airlines, but does not affect cargo aircraft.

“Violation”

“The US airlines have asked to resume service (in China), from June 1. The Chinese government’s failure to approve their requests is a violation of the aviation agreement between the two countries since 1980, the US Department said.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were canceled flights to and from China in February and March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to comply with travel restrictions announced in early February by the US government.

They wanted to resume operations in the country this month and had therefore submitted their requests to the Chinese civil aviation authorities in May. The latter still have not given green light. Beijing, on the other hand, in March authorized local airlines to operate one flight a week ago and to a foreign country, a restriction aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

Hail message

Currently, four Chinese airlines operate flights between the United States and China toward zero for US groups, according to DoT, which claims that some operate charter flights to circumvent the restriction of one flight per week and increase their competitive advantage.

The US reprisals were welcomed by local companies Airlines for America, the sector’s press group, and saw it as a way to ensure “fair” and healthy competition.

“We will gladly resume service between the United States and China when the regulatory environment permits,” United said, while Delta applauded measures to “uphold our rights and guarantee equity.”

Waiting for a gesture from Beijing?

Washington, however, said Wednesday was ready to reverse its decision if Beijing gestured to the US groups. “Our main goal is not to defend this situation but to improve things so that carriers on both sides can fully exercise their bilateral rights,” the US authorities said.

They ensure that if CAAC, the Chinese air regulator, adjusted its policy toward US airlines, Washington would be “fully prepared to reconsider its decision”.

Chinese and American relations have been poisoned recently, with the spread of warring apples, the latest and hottest affecting Hong Kong.

With AFP