The US plans to ban Chinese passenger airlines, retaliating as China hinders US airlines from resuming flights to its country

dslotnick@businessinsider.com (David Slotnick)
China Eastern Airbus A350 900 take off

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  • The Trump Administration plans to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the US, according to a new report from Reuters.
  • The move is the latest in an ongoing tit-for-tat as tensions rise between the two countries.
  • Delta and United are both seeking to resume China flights, after suspending them due to low demand at the height of the pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration plans to ban Chinese airlines from operating passenger flights to the US starting in mid-June, according to a new report from Reuters.

The move, which is set to be announced on Wednesday, comes after the US Department of Transportation accused China of effectively preventing US carriers from resuming flights to the country. The accusation came amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

Delta and United have both sought to resume limited flying to China in June, although the country remains largely closed to foreigners, and has stringent quarantine requirements for those entering. Both airlines have submitted applications to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). American Airlines has suspended its service to China through at least October.

The CAAC, however, ordered airlines to use their flight schedules from the week of March 16 as a benchmark to determine how many flights they can operate to the country going forward, according to CNN.

US carriers began reducing flights to the Chinese mainland in February, and suspended routes altogether by March as demand plummeted in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. That means that the US airlines have a bench mark of zero flights.

The CAAC restriction stems from concerns that a resumption of international travel will bring imported cases of COVID-19 to China, following efforts to stamp out new cases in the country.

On May 22, the US began requiring Chinese airlines to file flight applications with the Department of Transportation in retaliation for the restriction against US airlines, according to CNN. Once applications were submitted, the US said it would assess whether the flights "may be contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest." Beijing denounced the restrictions. Chinese airlines remained service to the US throughout the pandemic, despite little demand for travel between the countries.

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