Trump administration to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to US: reports

Trump administration to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to US: reports
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The Trump administration will prohibit Chinese airlines from carrying passengers to the U.S. beginning in mid-June after Beijing failed to live up to an agreement on the flights, according to multiple reports.

"Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights,” the U.S. Department of Transportation said in its order Wednesday, according to CNBC. “Should the [Chinese aviation authority] adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers, the Department is fully prepared to revisit the action it has announced in this order.”

The restrictions are slated to take effect June 16, Reuters noted, citing three U.S. and airline officials briefed on the matter. It added, however, that they could be implemented earlier.

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The administration in late May had accused Beijing of making it all but impossible for U.S. airline service to China to resume and ordered four Chinese carriers to file their flight schedules with Washington, according to Reuters.

Chinese carriers have continued U.S. flights during the coronavirus pandemic, and Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have both asked to resume China-bound flights in June.

Weeks ago, the administration cited a March policy implemented by the Civil Aviation Authority of China limiting carriers from flying more flights to China than were scheduled on March 12. Since all passenger flights to China had been suspended by that date, Beijing’s announcement “effectively precludes U.S. carriers from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to China,” the government said.

The U.S. Transportation Department told Reuters in May it has “protested this situation to the Chinese authorities, repeatedly objecting to China’s failure to let U.S. carriers fully exercise their rights and to the denial to U.S. carriers of their right to compete on a fair and equal basis with Chinese carriers”

The administration barred most non-citizens who had been in China in the preceding two weeks from entering the U.S. in January in an attempt to keep the coronavirus from spreading in the U.S., but no such restrictions were imposed on Chinese flights into the country. Several major U.S. carriers voluntarily froze flights into China by February.

“We support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness,” Delta said in a statement Wednesday.

--This report was updated at 11:08 a.m.