President Donald Trump’s administration said on Wednesday it will bar Chinese passenger carriers from flying to the United States starting on June 16 as it pressures Beijing to allow U.S. air carriers to resume flights.
The move, announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, penalizes China after Beijing failed to comply with an existing agreement on flights between the world’s two largest economies. Relations between the two countries have also soured in recent months amid escalating tensions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have asked to resume flights to China this month, even as Chinese carriers have continued U.S. flights during the pandemic. Delta said in a statement on Wednesday that “we support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness.” United did not immediately comment.
China “remains unable” to say when it will revise its rules “to allow U.S. carriers to reinstate scheduled passenger flights,” the Transportation Department said in a formal notice made public on Wednesday.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Trump administration on May 22 accused China’s government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China and ordered four Chinese carriers to file flight schedules with the U.S. government.
The Chinese carriers are flying no more than one scheduled flight a week to the United States but also have flown a significant number of additional charter flights, often to help Chinese students return home.
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