China Relaxes Coronavirus Flight Restrictions After US Targets its Carriers

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times claiming the lives of more than 380,000 people worldwide

China is going to relax coronavirus or COVID-19 restrictions for allowing more foreign carriers to fly to the mainland, shortly after Washington vowed to bar Chinese airlines from flying to the US because of the Beijing's curbs on US airlines,.

Qualifying foreign carriers are presently barred from operating flights to China and are going to be allowed once-a-week flights inside a city of their choice starting on June 8, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) stated in a statement on Thursday.

The CAAC said all airlines will be allowed to increase the number of international flights involving China to two per week if no passengers on their flights test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, for three consecutive weeks. If five or more passengers on one flight test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, the CAAC will bar the airline from services for a week. Airlines would be suspended for four weeks if 10 passengers or more test positive.

China to Allow More Foreign Carriers Amid Coronavirus Crisis

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The CAAC has slashed international flights since late March to allay concerns over rising coronavirus infections brought by arriving passengers. Mainland carriers are limited to one flight a week on one route to any country and foreign airlines are allowed to operate just one flight a week to a city in China. Carriers could also fly no more than the number of flights in a weekly schedule approved by the CAAC on March 12. U.S. passenger airlines already stopped all flights to China at that time, meaning they were unable to resume flights to China.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government said it would bar Chinese passenger carriers starting from June 16, pressuring Beijing to let U.S. airlines to resume flights. The U.S. Department of Transportation could not be immediately reached for comment, though it has said it will reconsider the decision against Chinese airlines if the CAAC adjusts its policies affecting U.S. airlines.

Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said at a daily briefing on Thursday the CAAC is lodging a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation for the ruling against Chinese air carriers. He said the CAAC is in close cooperation with its U.S. counterpart about passenger flights. "We hope the U.S. side will not create obstacles for the resolution of this issue," Zhao said. China suspended the entry of most foreigners in late March, meaning only Chinese nationals can enter on commercial passenger flights.

(With agency inputs)

Related topics : Coronavirus