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COVID-19

Diplomatic Tussle Continues Over U.S.-China Flights

China has made some concessions, apparently in response to a June 3 Trump administration order that would bar four Chinese passenger carriers from operating into and out of the U.S. effective June 16.

Four Chinese carriers have maintained flights to and from the U.S. in recent weeks. They are Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Xiamen. In mid-February, these Chinese carriers were operating 20 flights per week. By mid-march, the number had increased to 34, according to USA Today.

The Trump Administration says its June 3 order was to protest China’s failure to respond to requests by Delta and United to resume flights, which the Administration alleges violates a 1980 bilateral agreement. (American Airlines is hoping to resume operations in October).

In an apparent concession, China’s Civil Aviation Administration on June 4 announced a plan to ease its ban on foreign airlines starting June 8, according to Bloomberg. China says that additional foreign airlines–presumably including Delta and United–will be able to operate one commercial passenger flight to and from China a week. Foreign airlines may subsequently be granted additional routes if no passengers on the airlines test positive for coronavirus for several weeks.

The Trump Administration is now weighing whether China’s concessions are sufficient to merit revising or cancelling the order supposed to take effect June 16, according to Reuters.

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