Scheduled Passenger Operations of 7 Chinese Airlines Suspended 2020 by Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation of the United States has suspended scheduled passenger service of seven airlines which are based in the People’s Republic of China effective as of Tuesday, June 16, 2020 as a result of the failure of the government of China to permit commercial air carriers which are based in the United States from exercising the full extent of their bilateral right to conduct scheduled passenger air services to and from the country.

Scheduled Passenger Operations of 7 Chinese Airlines Suspended 2020 by Department of Transportation

China flag

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated already strained relations between the two countries; and the notification and order disapproving schedules has escalated tensions.

The scheduled passenger flight services of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines between the United States and China were substantially reduced in late January of 2020 due to decreasing demand as a result of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

“In early January 2020, among U.S. and Chinese carriers, there were approximately 325 weekly scheduled combination flights operated between the two countries. By mid-February, only 20 weekly scheduled combination flights by four Chinese carriers remained in the market”, according to this official document released earlier today, Wednesday, June 3, 2020 from the Department of Transportation of the United States. “In mid-March, Chinese carriers increased service levels to 34 weekly flights.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of China subsequently issued a Notice on Further Reducing International Passenger Flights during the Epidemic Prevention and Control Period on Thursday, March 26, 2020, which provides that airlines which are based in China could maintain just one weekly scheduled passenger flight on one route to any given country; and that foreign airlines could maintain just one weekly scheduled passenger flight on one route to China…

China Eastern Airlines Shanghai to New York

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

…but by Thursday, March 12, 2020 — the date which the Civil Aviation Authority of China required that all carriers “use their international passenger flight schedules from March 12, 2020, as a maximum limit of the capacity, in terms of frequency of passenger service, that they may maintain in any given international market until further notice” — airlines which are based in the United States had already completely ceased flying passenger service to and from China; while carriers based in China generally maintained a degree of passenger service during that time frame.

This means that instead of airlines which are based in the United States being permitted to maintain just one weekly scheduled passenger flight on one route to China, they are effectively precluded from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to and from China and therefore cannot operate any flights at all between the two countries; but carriers which are based in China are allowed to continue to operate passenger service to and from the United States.

The Department of Transportation considers the March 12, 2020 date as “arbitrary”; views these restrictions as inconsistent with the Civil Air Transport Agreement of Wednesday, September 17, 1980 between the United States and China; and has voiced its objections to the Civil Aviation Authority of China. Negotiations between the United States and China during the month of May of 2020 to correct the imbalance were unsuccessful, which led to the equalization of passenger service between the United States and China to become effective as of Tuesday, June 16, 2020, when neither country can operate flights between the two countries.

The seven airlines which will no longer be permitted to operate scheduled passenger flights between the United States and China include:

  • Air China Limited — doing business as Air China
  • Beijing Capital Airlines Co., Limited
  • China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited
  • China Southern Airlines Company Limited
  • Hainan Airlines Holding Co. Limited
  • Sichuan Airlines Co., Limited
  • Xiamen Airlines

Summary

China Eastern Airlines Shanghai to New York

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The discrepancy of permission as to which airlines can operate flights between the two countries smacks of each side taking its ball and going home in defiance…

…but the United States — which has been on the losing end of trade imbalance with China for years — should not experience a similar yet blatantly unfair imbalance pertaining to who can operate scheduled passenger flights between the two countries; and the United States effectively had no other choice but to retaliate against the artificially competitive advantage allegedly created by China.

Hopefully, cooler minds will eventually prevail and scheduled passenger flights will resume — as mutually fairly as possible — between the two countries sometime in the future.

All photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Scheduled Passenger Operations of 7 Chinese Airlines Suspended 2020 by Department of Transportation”

  1. Chris@Oak says:

    *Going to make Chinese birth tourism more difficult.
    *This makes it more difficult for members of the Confucius Society (CCP) to enter and/or flee the US.
    *US professors taking $ from CCP might find it more difficult to leak research and confidential files on trips to China while visiting the CCP and their handlers.

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