Bharat Express

US And China Agree To Double Weekly Flights Between Two Nations

Russia has blocked US airlines and other foreign carriers from flying over its airspace


The U.S. and China have agreed to double the number of passenger flights already permitted between the two countries.

The United States Transportation Department (USDOT) will increase the number of Chinese passenger flights allowed to fly to the U.S. to 18 weekly round-trips beginning September 1 to 24 weekly round-trips beginning Oct. 29, up from the current 12, and the Chinese government will agree to the same increase for American carriers.

The deal, a rare sign of Beijing-Washington cooperation, comes as China lifted pandemic-era restrictions on group tours for more nations on Thursday, including key markets such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

The USDOT issued its decision late Friday but did not immediately respond. Requests for response were not immediately returned by the White House, State Department, and Chinese Embassy in Washington.

In a statement, USDOT stated, “Our overriding goal is an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties are able to exercise fully their bilateral rights to maintain a competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among U.S. and Chinese air carriers”.

The 24 weekly flights are only a fraction of the more than 150 round-trip flights allowed by either side before the COVID-19 pandemic imposed restrictions in early 2020.

On May 3, USDOT announced that Chinese airlines will be allowed to increase U.S. passenger services to 12 weekly round-trips, the same number of flights that Beijing has permitted for American carriers. Chinese carriers could only fly eight times per week.

According to the flight tracking website FlightAware and industry officials, Chinese airlines are avoiding flying through Russian airspace in newly approved flights to and from the United States.

In retaliation for Washington prohibiting Russian aircraft from the US in March 2022 after the country invaded Ukraine, Russia has blocked US airlines and other foreign carriers from flying over its airspace.

Also read: Amid Tensions With China, Taiwan’s Vice President To Travel To United States