US loosens restrictions on flights from China

US loosens restrictions on flights from China
© Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is loosening restrictions on flights from China beginning Tuesday.

The DOT will now allow four weekly round-trips to the United States from China, with an increase in service subject to negotiation, a department spokesperson told The Hill.

The DOT’s decision comes after the Civil Aviation Administration of China allowed Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to restart service between the two countries. 

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A DOT spokesperson said the department “welcomes this action” and seeks a return to normalcy in accordance with the bilateral Air Transport Agreement between the U.S. and China.” In the order issued Monday, the DOT suggests they still believe China is in violation of the order. 

“We find that while the [Civil Aviation Administration of China’s] recent actions continue to preclude U.S. carriers from fully exercising their rights under the Agreement and remain a significant concern to the Department, these latest actions represent positive progress and an important first step toward restoring a fair and equal opportunity for U.S. carriers to compete in the U.S.-China passenger market,” Transportation Department officials wrote in the revised order.

The DOT also indicated they remain open to negotiations with China. The move comes at a moment where both countries are working toward rebuilding their economies while the coronavirus pandemic persists. 

“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 order said.