US Suspends 26 Flights by Chinese Airlines
The US Department of Transportation said it is suspending 26 flights by Chinese airlines next month in a dispute over Beijing’s strict Covid-19 policies. That includes seven flights by Air China from New York City and a total of 19 flights from Los Angeles by Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.
The DoT says that Beijing violated an air travel agreement and treated airlines unfairly under a system that suspends flights if passengers test positive for Covid-19.
The total number of 26 flights is equal to the number of flights United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines were required to cancel under Beijing’s Covid-19 system.
The Civil Aviation Authority of China says that if at least 4% of passengers on a flight test positive for Covid-19 after arrival, one flight by that airline will be suspended. If the number reaches 8%, two flights will be suspended.
The DoT says the policy is a violation of international treaties on flight access. The agency says that airlines face “undue culpability” for passengers who present negative test results before boarding, as required, but test positive after arriving in China.
“We reserve the right to take additional action” if Beijing imposes “further circuit-breaker measures,” DoT’s statement said, as reported by ABC News.
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