The United States (US) Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a decision that will allow Chinese airlines to operate more flights to the US.
The DOT issued the decision on May 3, 2023, arguing that while the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) “has unilaterally abridged the rights of U.S. carriers” for the past few years, recent developments have forced the US agency to allow airlines based in China to increase passenger flights between China and the US.
The decision, which is effective immediately, will allow carriers based in China to operate up to 12 weekly round-trip scheduled passenger flights from and to the United States. The list of China-based airlines informed by the DOT of the decision are Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.
“We note that, although the CAAC’s December 28 announcement lifted certain COVID-related restrictions it had imposed in the U.S.-China market, those restrictions had, and continue to have, a devastating effect on the U.S.-China air transport market,” the DOT stated.
“While the removal of restrictions by CAAC is a long-awaited positive step, in light of the long-term harm to the market and the other factors noted above, we believe that the public interest is best served by a balanced and incremental reopening to ensure an orderly normalization of the U.S.-China air transport market and the overarching aviation relationship,” the government agency continued.
According to the DOT, its goal is to improve the relationship between the US department and the CAAC so that airlines from both sides of the Pacific Ocean can fully exercise their bilateral traffic rights.
“While the most recent change in CAAC posture has led us to increase to twelve weekly flights,” the DOJ continued, it added that the long-term impact of CAAC’s limitations “calls for an incremental return to services in the U.S.-China combination services market”.
“In that regard, we hope to maintain an ongoing and productive dialogue with CAAC with the goal of a gradual, broader reopening of the U.S.-China air services market,” the DOT concluded.