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Trump Administration to Block Chinese Airlines From Flying to the U.S.
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Trump Administration to Block Chinese Airlines From Flying to the U.S.

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it planned to block Chinese airlines from flying into or out of the United States starting on June 16, after the Chinese government effectively prevented U.S. airlines from resuming service between the countries.

The dispute stems from a March 26 decision by China’s aviation regulators that limited foreign carriers to one flight per week based on the flight schedules they had in place earlier that month. But all three American airlines that fly between China and the United States had stopped service to the country by then because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the Chinese government had effectively banned them from flying there at all, even though airlines from that country continue to fly to American cities.

As ground zero of the pandemic, China was the first country to see aviation grind to a halt this year. In January, American and Chinese carriers operated about 325 weekly flights between the two countries. By mid-Feburary, only 20 remained, all of them run by Chinese airlines.

The March decision became a problem only in recent weeks, as Delta Air Lines and United Airlines had hoped to resume flights to China starting this month. Both carriers appealed to the Civil Aviation Authority of China, but did not receive a response. The U.S. also pressed Chinese officials to change their position during a call on May 14, arguing that the country was in violation of a 1980 agreement that governs flights between the two countries and aims to ensure that rules “equally apply to all domestic and foreign carriers” in both countries.

China’s aviation authority told American officials that it was considering amending its rule, but it has not said “definitively” when that might happen, the Transportation Department said in a statement. “In light of these facts, which present a situation in which the Chinese aviation authorities have authorized no U.S. carrier scheduled passenger operations between the United States and China, we conclude that these circumstances require the department’s action to restore a competitive balance”…

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