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U.S. suspends 26 Chinese flights in response to China flight cancellations

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A flight information board shows a cancelled China Eastern Airlines flight on the Kunming Changshui International Airport on March 21, 2022. The U.S. government said on Thursday it’s going to suspend 26 China-bound flights from the USA by 4 Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over Covid-19 cases.

Str | Afp | Getty Images

The U.S. government said on Thursday it’s going to suspend 26 China-bound flights from the USA by 4 Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over Covid-19 cases.

The choice will affect flights by Xiamen, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines from Sept. 5 to Sept. 28. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) cited the recent cancellation of 26 American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines flights over Covid-19 cases.

The suspensions include 19 China-bound flights from Los Angeles and seven China Eastern flights from Latest York.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington’s spokesperson Liu Pengyu said the USDOT motion was “extremely irresponsible” and “groundlessly suspended Chinese airline flights.”

The embassy said China’s Covid-19 “circuit breaker” measures were fair and transparent, applied each to Chinese and foreign airlines and were consistent with bilateral air transportation agreements.

USDOT said as of Aug. 7 Chinese authorities had revised their policies so if the variety of passengers on a flight to China testing positive for Covid-19 reached 4% of the whole, one flight can be suspended. If it reached 8%, two flights can be suspended.

USDOT said the U.S. has repeatedly raised objections with China, saying the foundations place “undue culpability on carriers” when travelers test negative before boarding their flight from the USA only to “test positive for Covid-19 after their arrival in China.”

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:

Beijing and Washington have sparred over air services for the reason that start of the pandemic. In January, the Transportation Department suspended 44 China-bound flights from the USA by the 4 Chinese carriers in response to China’s decision suspend 44 flights by U.S. carriers.

In August 2021, USDOT limited 4 flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capability for 4 weeks after Beijing imposed an identical limits on 4 United Airlines flights.

Three U.S. airlines and 4 Chinese carriers typically operate about 20 flights per week between the countries, well below the figure of greater than 100 per week before the pandemic.

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