US suspends flights by Chinese airlines starting June 16

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - June 3, 2020

June 3, 2020

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The United States on Tuesday ordered the suspension of all flights by Chinese airlines into and out of the country after Beijing failed to allow American carriers to resume service to China.

"US carriers have asked to resume passenger service, beginning June 1. The Chinese government's failure to approve their requests is a violation of our Air Transport Agreement," the US Transportation Department said in a statement.

The suspension takes effect on June 16, but could be implemented sooner if President Donald orders it to be.

The Transportation Department said that China was violating an agreement between the two countries covering flights by each other's airlines.

"The Department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both US and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights," the agency said in a statement. "In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours."

The four airlines affected by the order are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

Before the pandemic, there were about 325 passenger flights a week between the United States and China, including ones operated by United, Delta and American Airlines. While US carriers stopped their flights, Chinese airlines continued to fly about 20 times a week between the two countries in mid-February and increased that to 34 flights a week by mid-March, according to the Transportation Department.

United and Delta announced last month that they hoped to resume flights to China in June, as air travel has recovered slightly since mid-April. American's schedule shows flights resuming in October; it has not announced any plans to restart service sooner.

Updated: June 3, 2020 07:53 PM

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