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

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US government on Friday accused the Chinese government of preventing US airlines from resuming service in China and has ordered four Chinese air carriers to deposit their flight schedules with the United States government.

FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes are seen parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama , United States, March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Elijah Nouvelage

The administration of President Donald Trump has not imposed restrictions on Chinese air carriers, but has said that talks with China have not resulted in an agreement.

The United States Department of Transportation, which is trying to persuade China to allow the US passenger air service to resume in the country, briefly delayed some Chinese charter flights for failure to meet notice requirements.

In an order posted on a US government website and seen by Reuters, the department noted that Delta Air Lines and United Airlines wanted to resume flights to China in June, even though Chinese carriers continued their American flights during the pandemic COVID-19.

The order said that Air China, China Eastern Airlines Corp, China Southern Airlines Co, Hainan Airlines Holding Co and their subsidiaries must file flight schedules and other details by May 27. The ministry warned that it could find Chinese flights “contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest. “

United declined to comment. Other U.S. and Chinese carriers, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The department said in a statement that it “protested the situation to the Chinese authorities, repeatedly opposing China’s refusal to let US carriers exercise their rights fully and the denial of US carriers’ rights. to compete fairly and equally with the Chinese. carriers “and described the situation as” critical “.

On January 31, the United States government denied entry to most non-American citizens who had stayed in China in the past 14 days but did not impose any restrictions on Chinese flights. The main American carriers voluntarily decided to suspend all passenger flights to China in February.

Delta and United offer cargo flights to China. Delta had requested approval for a daily flight to Shanghai Pudong Airport from Detroit and Seattle, while United had requested to take a daily flight to Shanghai Pudong from San Francisco and Newark Airport near New York and between San Francisco and Beijing.

The number of weekly scheduled combined flights operated between the two countries by American and Chinese carriers rose from 325 in January to 20, just for the four Chinese carriers in mid-February, before the carriers increased them to 34 in mid-March. American order says.

CAAC said in late March that Chinese airlines could maintain a single weekly passenger flight on a route to a given country and that carriers could only fly the number of flights they operate on March 12, according to order American.

But because US passenger airlines had stopped all flights before March 12, the CAAC opinion “effectively prevents US carriers from re-establishing scheduled passenger flights to China,” the ministry said.

CAAC told US government on May 14 call that China is considering removing the March 12 schedule requirement, but the “restriction on weekly service on a route to China would remain in effect,” said the order.

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

David Shepardson report; Additional reports from Brenda Goh, Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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