United States DOT bans Chinese airlines from flying beginning mid-June

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be banning Chinese airlines flying to the USA starting June 16, a retaliation move amid China denying the request of US carriers to mount flights between both countries.

In a report from FlightGlobal, DOT says China’s actions have kept US from exercising “the full extent of their bilateral right” to operate commercial passenger service between the two countries, according to a 3 June DOT order.

The DOT order said, “The government of China has, over the objections of the US government, impaired the operating rights of US carriers and denied US air carriers the fair and equal opportunity to exercise their operating rights under the agreement."

“Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights.”

China first denied the request of US airlines

The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) first denied the application of Delta and United Airlines to resume flights between the US and China. The agency also restricted flights between China and other nations, which allowed foreign airlines to only operate one flight weekly to China.

The one-sided order from the CAAC also prohibited foreign airlines from adding capacity than they had in their schedules in March 12. The DOT said that the US had no China flights during that time due to the coronavirus.

Air traffic between the two countries is governed by the US-China Civil Air Transport Agreement, signed in 1980, which establishes rights for carriers from both countries to provide air transport between the US and China.

According to FlightGlobal, US airlines’ operations were suspended in March in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and passenger demand had sharply declined due to government-issued travel restrictions.

Chinese airlines continued flying a limited schedule between the countries throughout the pandemic. China Eastern Airlines is the top carrier to and from the United States. Air China, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines also connect the countries.

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