Big US airlines back move blocking Chinese flights to ‘ensure fairness’ in the skies

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The U.S. government’s retaliatory measure denying Chinese passenger planes entry to the world’s largest economy was mostly supported by major air carriers on Wednesday, which applauded the move as a way to “ensure fairness” in the skies.
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Acting on the Chinese government’s denial of requests by U.S. airline carriers to resume passenger flights to and from China, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an order suspending Chinese carrier passenger flights to and from the U.S., starting no later than June 16.

On March 12, China’s civil aviation authority (CAAC) imposed limits on international flights designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. According to the DOT’s notice, the move denied U.S. carriers a fair and equal opportunity to compete between the two markets, in violation of the Air Transport Agreement.

The department will allow Chinese passenger flights to continue if Beijing grants U.S. airlines their “bilateral rights to conduct passenger air service to China,” the agency said in the notice.

An arrivals board showing a cancelled flight from Wuhan to Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government's Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
An arrivals board showing a cancelled flight from Wuhan to Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government’s Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)

“Currently, four Chinese carriers and no U.S. carriers operate scheduled passenger flights between the U.S. and China,” the DOT said. “U.S. carriers have asked to resume passenger service, beginning June 1st. The Chinese government’s failure to approve their requests is a violation of our Air Transport Agreement.”

China maintains that its capacity limitations do not violate the agreement, according to the notice.

The U.S. government’s action was largely backed by major carriers.

“We support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness,” a Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) spokesperson wrote in an email to Yahoo Finance. The company said it had postponed restarting China routes because Beijing had not approved its applications. A pending application, which also has not been approved, requests that flying begin on June 11.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL) told Yahoo Finance, “We look forward to resuming passenger service between the United States and China when the regulatory environment allows us to do so.”

This article was originally posted on finance.yahoo.com/news/.
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