The Department of Transportation announced today that Chinese passenger air carriers will be banned from flying to the United States starting June 16th.
China Hasn’t Let U.S. Airlines Resume its Routes to the Country
The disagreement is pretty simple: The U.S. government is tired of waiting for China to let U.S.-based carriers resume its routes into the country, and feels it must put pressure on them to do so.
At the start of the pandemic, American, Delta, and United airlines suspended their routes to China due to COVID-19 concerns. Despite the fact that Chinese carriers have continued to fly to the United States throughout the pandemic, it has not yet allowed U.S. carriers to resume their routes to China.
Delta and United officially asked China to allow them to resume their routes June 1st, and when that request was not granted, the Trump Administration pulled the trigger on the ban.
« The Department [of Transportation] will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both U.S. and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights, » the DOT said in a statement. « In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours. »
The ban applies to Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines.
Back on May 22, Reuters reported that the U.S. government “accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China,” even as they have continued to operate flights to the U.S. throughout the whole pandemic. It warned that action could be coming if an agreement was not worked out.
The Ban Could Start Earlier Than June 16th, But Hopefully Never?
Though it’s officially scheduled to start June 16th, President Trump has the authority to start the ban earlier if he wants – that is, if negotiations do not come to fruition.
However, the two-week window between now and the start of the ban on the 16th gives the countries one final chance to work out an agreement. If so, it’s possible the ban will never go into effect.
Delta Airlines issued a statement that thanked the U.S. government.
“We support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness,” the statement said.