WASHINGTON • The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, the US Transportation Department said, easing a stand-off on travel restrictions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US government still hopes China will agree to restore full US flight rights under their bilateral aviation agreement, the Transportation Department said on Monday.
“As the Chinese government allows more flights by US carriers, we will reciprocate,” it said.
The US had threatened to bar Chinese passenger flights due to Beijing’s curbs on US airlines amid simmering tensions between the world’s two largest economies, and has raised concerns about the number of charter flights Chinese carriers want to fly.
Among US airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines had each sought to restart daily passenger flights to China this month, but changed their plans in the absence of government approval.
Following China’s agreement to allow four US flights in total, Delta said it would operate two flights to Shanghai from Seattle next week and once-weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit beginning next month – all via Seoul.
United said it was aiming to re-launch service to China in the weeks ahead.
Chinese authorities have already agreed to some changes on requirements for US carriers, including allowing temperature checks to be done before flights take off for China, rather than mid-flight as previously discussed, a person briefed on the matter said.