The US Department of Transportation stated last Friday that it will ban 26 flights from the US to China operated by Chinese airlines in response to the Chinese government’s requirement that US carriers suspend their flights to China. The cause is a disagreement about anti-virus measures. As per Reuters, the bans would affect seven flights from New York and 19 flights from Los Angeles by four airlines: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.
According to the DOT, the sum of 26 flights equals the number of flights for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines that China recently canceled as “circuit-breaker” fines for passengers testing positive for Covid-19 “up to seven days after they arrived in China.”
The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration changed its “circuit-breaker” methods for scheduled international passenger flights on August 7 “to effectively coordinate Covid-19 prevention and control.” If any airline carrying at least five passengers who test positive for Covid 19 reaches 4% or higher, the airline’s operation on that specific route will be halted for one flight”.
According to the Chinese authorities, if the number of confirmed passengers testing positive reaches 8% or more, the airline’s operation on that route would be halted for two operations.
“Since March 2020, China has unilaterally imposed frequency and capacity restrictions that are inconsistent with the terms of the U.S.-China Air Transport Agreement,” per DOT via an email. The U.S. government has “repeatedly raised its objections to the circuit-breaker policy with Chinese government officials.”
The guidelines also lay “undue responsibility on carriers” when travelers test negative before boarding but later test positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in China, according to the DOT.