China, US will allow air carriers to double flights between nations

2020-08-20 03:20:08 GMT2020-08-20 11:20:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

The United States and China have agreed to double the number of flights that each other’s airlines can operate between the countries, from four to eight per week.

The US Transportation Department announced the increase on Tuesday, saying that China’s aviation authority decided this week to permit expanded flights by United and Delta. Shortly after the announcement, Chicago-based United Airlines said it will go from two to four flights per week between San Francisco and Shanghai via Seoul, starting September 4.

The Transportation Department said Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is also eligible to increase its two weekly flights to four.

Delta said it would add one weekly flight from Detroit and Seattle each to Shanghai, via Seoul, beginning August 24.

Chinese airlines that already fly to the United States — Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines — will be allowed to make eight weekly round-trips instead of four, the department said.

The US government still hopes China will agree to restore full US flight rights under their bilateral aviation agreement, the Transportation Department has said, adding as China allows additional flights it will respond in kind. It called the most recent increase in flying “a step in the right direction.”

In early January, there were more than 300 flights per week between the two countries, but that number nosedived after the pandemic undercut demand for international air travel. United, Delta and American Airlines suspended flights to China by mid-March.

The United States had threatened to bar Chinese passenger flights in June after Beijing did not immediately agree to restore flights by US airlines. The Civil Aviation Administration of China adjusted policies for international passenger flights in early June, allowing more foreign carriers to resume flights to China on a once-a-week basis starting from June 8.

As of August 12, China has maintained regular passenger traffic with 50 countries, and altogether 93 airlines, including 19 domestic and 74 foreign companies, have been operating 210 weekly return frequencies on 187 international passenger routes, the CAAC said.


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