The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, the U.S. Department of Transportation said on Monday, easing a standoff on travel restrictions in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. government continues to hope that China is ready to restore full U.S. flight rights under its bilateral air service agreement, the Department of Transportation said on Monday in its revised China flight order.
“As the Chinese government allows more flights by U.S. carriers, we will reciprocate,” it said.
The United States threatened to block Chinese passenger flights on June 16 because Beijing had restricted US airlines due to the simmering tensions between the world’s two largest economies, and expressed concerns about the number of charter flights that Chinese airlines want to fly .
For the U.S. airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines each tried to resume daily passenger flights to China in June, but changed their plans without government approval.
Following China’s agreement to allow a total of four US flights, Delta has announced that it will operate two flights from Seattle to Shanghai next week, and weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit via Seoul from July.
United said it was planning to resume service to China in the coming weeks.
The Chinese authorities have already approved some changes to the requirements for U.S. airlines, including allowing temperature checks to be made before the flight to China, rather than during flight, as previously discussed, one person said.
Row over flight ban
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered Chinese airlines scheduled flights to and from the United States to cease from June 16.
The ministry accused China of not allowing US carriers to exercise their bilateral rights to operate passenger airline services in China.
It is said that four Chinese airlines and no U.S. airlines are currently operating scheduled flights between the U.S. and China.
It added that US airlines have requested passenger service resumption from June 1, and the Chinese government’s failure to approve their applications is in violation of our aviation agreement.
“The Department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both US and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights. In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours,” it said.
China later said that foreign airlines that have been shut down due to COVID-19 concerns will allow limited flights to resume.
The recent argument between the two countries is based in part on the decision by the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) to limit foreign airlines based on their operations from March 12.