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Trump administration to suspend flights from Chinese airlines to US

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06:28 | 04/06/2020

The Trump administration will block Chinese airlines from flying in and out of the U.S. beginning in mid-June, Reuters reports.    

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The move is the latest in an ongoing tit-for-tat as tensions rise between the two countries.

The move comes after the US Department of Transportation accused China of effectively preventing US carriers from resuming flights to the country. The accusation came amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Wednesday that China “remains unable” to say when it will change its regulations and “allow U.S. carriers to reinstate scheduled passenger flights.”

According to Reuters, the ban applies to Air China (601111.SS), China Eastern Airlines Corp, China Southern Airlines Co (600029.SS) and Hainan Airlines Holding Co (600221.SS), as well as smaller Sichuan Airlines Co and Xiamen Airlines Co. Chinese carriers are currently flying four round-trip flights to the United States weekly.

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and United Airlines (UAL.O) have asked to resume flights to China this month, even as Chinese carriers have continued U.S. flights during the pandemic.

As The New York Times explains, China has essentially stopped U.S. airlines from being able to resume service to the country; in March, China's regulators "limited foreign carriers to one flight per week based on the flight schedules they had in place earlier that month," the Times writes, but "all three American airlines that fly between China and the United States had stopped service to the country by then because of the coronavirus pandemic." As a result, the Transportation Department says, China "effectively precludes U.S. carriers from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to China."

Given this, the Transportation Department said it's required "to restore a competitive balance" by taking this action. Delta Air Lines, which is seeking to resume flights to China, on Wednesday expressed support for the administration's announcement, saying, "we support and appreciate the U.S. government's actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness."

The ban is reportedly set to go into effect on June 16, though the Transportation Department says that should China "adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers," it's "fully prepared to revisit the action.

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