US Set to Suspend Flights From Chinese Airlines

By Joshua Cawthorpe, June 4, 2020

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The US announced on Wednesday that it intends to block Chinese airlines from operating in the country. 

According to CNN, the Chinese airline ban is in retaliation to the decision by Chinese authorities to prevent American carriers, United Airlines and Delta Airlines, from resuming flights to and from China. Both US airlines had requested to resume services as early as June 1. The ban on Chinese airlines is set to take effect on June 16, but could be enacted sooner.

This latest development in China-US relations comes at a time when the PRC recorded only one new COVID-19 case on Wednesday, according to the National Health Commission. Meanwhile, the US reported 20,578 new cases on the same day with more than 1.8 million active cases in the country.

In late March, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced that international airlines could resume passenger service with one flight from one Chinese city to one foreign city for one carrier per country, per week – a measure known as the ‘Five Ones’ policy.

But since all major US airlines had suspended passenger flights into China in late January, to control the spread of the pandemic, they were excluded from the schedule of flights that were allowed to resume. Both Delta and United airlines appealed the decision to Chinese aviation authorities, but a report by the New York Times claims that they did not receive a response from the CAAC. US transportation officials argued that this was a violation of a 40-year-old agreement regarding flights between the two countries and that the rules should apply equally to both countries.

The topic has been trending on Chinese social media sites, with one Weibo user posting, “Who would want to fly to the US now? It’s ridiculous!” Many Chinese netizens have mocked US President Donald Trump’s China flight ban and suggested that they currently have no desire to travel to the US – referencing the US handling of the pandemic and civil unrest in response to the police murder of an unarmed African-American named George Floyd. Another user sarcastically noted, “How friendly [of Trump] to pass up on the largest consumer market and spare us from the impact of an epidemic and riots, Trump is working hard.”

[Cover photo via Unsplash]

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