Starting June 25, Delta Air Lines will restart services between Seattle and Shanghai’s Pudong airport via Seoul-Incheon. The service will operate twice per week, according to a statement on Delta’s news center site.
Weekly flights from Detroit to China via Incheon will also begin operation starting next month. The company said it is the first US airline to resume passenger flights to China since February.
The announcement comes after the US Department of Transportation announced last week that the US and China would begin allowing four weekly flights between the two countries – calling it “an important first step to fully restore air travel.” Although borders for both countries remain closed off to most nonnationals, the department said that full restoration of passenger air travel will help Chinese students return home who’ve been unable to fly because of a shortage of flights.
Delta listed off several health and safety measures that the company will implement, including electrostatic spraying, state-of-the-art air circulation systems, blocking middle seats to give passengers more space and requiring passengers to wear face coverings during travel.
Last month, NPR reported that Delta retired 18 Boeing 777 planes, as the company scrambled to cut costs amid decreased travel demand. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company was “burning about USD50 million every day.”
Currently, Chinese airlines are operating four flights between the PRC and US, according to Shine. These flights include a Beijing-Los Angeles service by Air China, a Shanghai-New York service by China Eastern, a Guangzhou-Los Angeles service by China Southern and a Xiamen-Los Angeles service by Xiamen Air. (A lot of love for LA.)
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has recently updated its policies, which allows for more foreign carriers to restart services to China on a weekly basis. The civil aviation regulator has said that if five or more passengers test positive for COVID-19 on a flight, the airline’s flights will be suspended for a week. Meanwhile if every inbound passenger on an airline test negative for three consecutive weeks, the airline will be able to increase to two flights per week.
[Cover image via Pixabay]