In a statement the U.S. government said it would suspend 44 China-bound flights from the United States by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over COVID-19 concerns.
The suspension of the flights of the four Chinese carriers will be effective from January 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight and run through March 29, said the US Transportation Department.
Chinese authorities have suspended flights of 20 United Airlines, 10 American Airlines, and 14 Delta Air Lines flights, after a few passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier last week, the US Transportation Department said the Chinese government had announced new U.S. flight cancellations.
Airlines for America, a trade group representing the three U.S. carriers affected by China’s move along with others, said it supported Washington’s action “to ensure the fair treatment of U.S. airlines in the Chinese market.”
The Transportation Department mentioned it could potentially revisit its action if Beijing were to revise its “policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers,” and warned if Beijing cancels more flights, “we reserve the right to take additional action.”
China has all but shut its borders to travellers and has slashed the total international flights to just 200 a week, equivalent to 2% of pre-pandemic levels.