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Exclusive: U.S. accuses China of blocking U.S. flights, demands action

Stock MarketsMay 23, 2020 12:15AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes parked in Birmingham 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China and ordered four Chinese air carriers to file flight schedules with the U.S. government.

The administration of President Donald Trump stopped short of imposing restrictions on Chinese air carriers but said talks with China had failed to produce an agreement.

The U.S. Transportation Department, which is trying to persuade China to allow the resumption of U.S. passenger airline service there, earlier this week briefly delayed a few Chinese charter flights for not complying with notice requirements.

In an order posted on a U.S. government website and seen by Reuters, the department noted Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and United Airlines want to resume flights to China in June, even as Chinese carriers have continued U.S. flights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order said Air China (OTC:AIRYY), China Eastern Airlines (NYSE:CEA) Corp, China Southern Airlines Co, Hainan Airlines Holding Co and their subsidiaries must file schedules and other details of flights by May 27. The department warned it could find Chinese flights "contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest."

United declined to comment. The other U.S. and Chinese carriers, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) and China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The department said in a statement it has "protested this situation to the Chinese authorities, repeatedly objecting to China’s failure to let U.S. carriers fully exercise their rights and to the denial to U.S. carriers of their right to compete on a fair and equal basis with Chinese carriers" and called the situation "critical."

On Jan. 31, the U.S. government barred from entry most non-U.S. citizens who had been in China within the previous 14 days but did not impose any restrictions on Chinese flights. Major U.S. carriers voluntarily decided to halt all passenger flights to China in February.

Delta and United are flying cargo flights to China. Delta had requested approval for a daily flight to Shanghai Pudong airport from Detroit and Seattle, while United had asked to fly daily to Shanghai Pudong from San Francisco and Newark airport near New York and between San Francisco and Beijing.

The number of weekly scheduled combination flights operated between the two countries by U.S and Chinese carriers fell from 325 in January to 20, by just the four Chinese carriers, in mid-February, before the carriers increased them to 34 in mid-March, the U.S. order said.

The CAAC in late March said Chinese airlines could maintain just one weekly passenger flight on one route to any given country and that carriers could fly no more than the number of flights they were flying on March 12, according to the U.S. order.

But because U.S. passenger airlines had stopped all flights by March 12, the CAAC notice "effectively precludes U.S. carriers from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to China," the department said.

CAAC told the U.S. government during a May 14 call that China is considering removing the March 12 schedule pre-condition but the "restriction to once-weekly service on one route to China would remain in place," the order said.

Earlier on Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department added 33 Chinese companies and institutions to an economic blacklist for alleged human rights violations and to address U.S. national security concerns involving weapons of mass destruction and other military activities.

Exclusive: U.S. accuses China of blocking U.S. flights, demands action
 

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Comments (9)
Glen Lalljie
Glen Lalljie May 25, 2020 4:34PM ET
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All trade travel and business with china must stop permanently until the communist party dies and democracy is established. If you buy something that says made in china ,you have the blood of covid 19 victims on your hands!
Pwr Strk
Pwr Strk May 25, 2020 12:26PM ET
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Reuters in cognitive dissonance denial
Arifin W Oei
Arifin W Oei May 24, 2020 12:36PM ET
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Don't fly if not necessary..just waste money..
Wai Chong
Wai Chong May 24, 2020 7:25AM ET
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So usa want or not want china? I'm confused... Lol
Cheng Fu
Cheng Fu May 24, 2020 7:25AM ET
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They want a fair way to do business with China. A good move, IMO. The ticket price is 10 times than the normal, and there are many Chinese (hunderds of thousands) citizens wants to fly back, the supply is 4 thousand per week globally. They can’t afford the price nor the hassels to book tickets could be cancelled later on. Many of them have legitmate reason, like healthcare needs. The current situition is horrible, lose-lose. The CAAC does not provide a reason why 4000 per week is the cap.
Rob Omes
Rob Omes May 23, 2020 5:08AM ET
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Watching politics is like watching kids in the kindergarten playing their game. I want your toy, you want mine and some want it all. Trusty Trump is the one wants it all. Trump thinks he can bash everyone and still like to be friends or co-operative together. It's classic for the one that is using bad language to quickly forget about the impact of his words. I really feel sorry for the US that they have chosen a president that is acting like a child, impulsive, capricious and harsh. Besides all this Trusty Trump has some good points about what is fair and unfair but the way he is bashing the world is absolutely a nogo. I hope you will have a better alternative for Trusty Trump.
Valking Bob
Valking Bob May 23, 2020 5:08AM ET
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You obviously know zero about business!
ChinaWuhanVirus CWV
ChinaWuhanVirus CWV May 23, 2020 3:59AM ET
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US government should cut China off the world similar to what had been done to Iran and Venezuela. No profit is worth trading with China if they have an authoritarian CCP regime that oppresses its own people.
Midway Eholdings
Midway Eholdings May 23, 2020 1:08AM ET
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Sorry commies your limp wristed tramp is no longer in office
Jason Zou
Jason Zou May 23, 2020 1:03AM ET
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US accuses of China blocking US flights to spead the virus to China.
du ich
du ich May 23, 2020 12:57AM ET
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US still in deep trouble. so sure to stop airlines to US
 
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