By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. authorities stated on Friday it might droop 44 China-bound flights from the United States by 4 Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese authorities's choice to droop some U.S. service flights over COVID-19 issues.
The suspensions will start on Jan. 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight and run via March 29, the Transportation Department stated.
The choice will minimize some flights by Xiamen, Air China (OTC:), China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:).
Since Dec. 31, Chinese authorities have suspended 20 United Airlines, 10 American Airlines (NASDAQ:) and 14 Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) flights, after some passengers examined constructive for COVID-19. As lately as Tuesday, the Transportation Department stated the Chinese authorities had introduced new U.S. flight cancellations.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, stated Friday the coverage for worldwide passenger flights getting into China has "been applied equally to Chinese and foreign airlines in a fair, open and transparent way."
He known as the U.S. transfer "very unreasonable" and added "We urge the U.S. side to stop disrupting and restricting the normal passenger flights" by Chinese airways."
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 make sure the honest therapy of U.S. airways within the Chinese market."
The Transportation Department said France and Germany have taken similar action against China’s COVID-19 actions. It said China's suspension of the 44 flights "are antagonistic to the general public curiosity and warrant proportionate remedial motion." It added that China's "unilateral actions in opposition to the named U.S. carriers are inconsistent" with a bilateral agreement.
China has also suspended numerous U.S. flights by Chinese carriers after passengers later tested positive.
The department said it was prepared to revisit its action if China revised its "insurance policies to convey in regards to the vital improved scenario for U.S. carriers." It warned that if China cancels more flights, "we reserve the correct to take further motion."
China has all however shut its borders to vacationers, reducing whole worldwide flights to only 200 per week, or 2% of pre-pandemic ranges, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) stated in September.
The variety of U.S. flights being scrapped has surged since December, as infections attributable to the extremely contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus soared to file highs within the United States.
Beijing and Washington have sparred over air providers because the begin of the pandemic. In August, the U.S. Transportation Department restricted 4 flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capability for 4 weeks after Beijing imposed similar limits on 4 United Airlines flights.
Before the current cancellations, three U.S. airways and 4 Chinese carriers had been working about 20 flights per week between the nations, nicely beneath the determine of greater than 100 per week earlier than the pandemic.
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