In the latest of a seemingly neverending series of escalations between the two countries, the Trump administration has announced its intentions to block Chinese airlines from flying to the United States in retaliation for China continuing to place restrictions on US airlines.
This ban is planned to go into effect on June 16, the US Transportation Department revealed on Wednesday.
The department explained that the move comes after the Chinese government refused to allow US airlines to resume flights to China in what it says is a violation of an agreement on international travel between the two countries.
“We will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours,” the department said.
Flights to and from China have been cut severely since Beijing banned foreigners from entering the country back in March while Chinese aviation regulators limited foreign airlines to just one flight per week to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections from hitting the Middle Kingdom.
However, the one flight per week rule was based on routes that airlines had operated earlier that month. By that time, United, Delta, and American airlines had all stopped services to China — meaning that they were all allowed zero flights.
This recently became an issue as both United and Delta told Chinese regulators that they would like to resume service to China on June 1.
China’s aviation authority replied that while they were considering amending regulations, nothing was definite yet, prompting the Trump administration to take action to “restore a competitive balance.”
At this time, Chinese airlines are the only ones flying from China to the United States, meaning that there may soon be no direct flights between the two countries.