America suspends 44 Chinese carrier flights to China in tit-for-tat action

China Eastern Airlines ©AirTeamImages

The United States has announced that it will be suspending 44 flights to China, flown by Chinese carriers, between January 30 and March 29. The retaliatory action is as a direct result of actions by the Chinese Government and its current COVID-19 protocols.

China has become disgruntled with the fact that while having negatively tested for the COVID-19 virus prior to departing the US, a number of American passengers have subsequently tested positive for the virus upon arrival in China. China currently operates what is referred to a ‘circuit-breaker’ policy where routes to the country are suspended if too many infected passengers are brought into China on any specific flights.

The US is objecting as all passengers departing the US have complied 100% with all relevant Chinese regulations with regard to pre-departure and in-flight protocols, yet the US is being penalised if those passengers subsequently test positive for COVID-19 once in China.

China has recently used its circuit-breaker policy to cancel a number of flights operated by American, Delta and United airlines after several passengers tested positive for the virus once in China, despite testing negative prior to departure from the US. The current batch of cancellations by the American government will affect Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

According to Reuters news agency, the US Department of Transportation wrote in its order Friday that “actions impairing the operations of Delta, American and United as described above are adverse to the public interest and warrant proportionate remedial action by the department.” It continued: “US carriers, who are following all relevant Chinese regulations with respect to pre-departure and in-flight protocols, should not be penalised if passengers, post-arrival, later test positive for COVID-19.”   

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