Trump administration to suspend Chinese passenger flights to U.S.

Trump administration to suspend Chinese passenger flights to U.S.

The Trump administration is suspending operations of all Chinese passenger airline carriers traveling to the U.S., citing a similar policy imposed by Beijing that has limited American carriers from service between the two countries.

The move comes amid soaring tensions between Washington and Beijing over ongoing trade disputes, the coronavirus pandemic and human rights violations on Hong Kong.

The order — which applies to Air China, China Eastern Airlines Corp, China Southern Airlines Co, Hainan Airlines Holding Co, Sichuan Airlines Co and Xiamen Airlines Co. Chinese — punishes Beijing for violating a pact that allows nonstop flights between the U.S. and China.

In a Wednesday notice issued by the U.S. Transportation Department, the agency claimed China has violated the Air Transportation Agreement, and finds that China has “impaired the operating rights of U.S. carriers and denied U.S. air carriers the fair and equal opportunity to exercise their operating rights.”

The order will allow the Chinese carriers to conduct one flight to the U.S. for each flight it allows a U.S. carrier to conduct to China.

The Transportation Department said they concluded that China’s actions have led the agency to “restore a competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among U.S. and Chinese air carriers in the scheduled passenger service marketplace.”

In a statement obtained by Reuters, Delta Air Lines said “we support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness.”

United Airlines told the publication that it looks forward to resuming passenger service between the two countries “when the regulatory environment allows us to do so.”

The order is expected to go into effect on June 16.

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