As a result of the disagreement over anti-virus measures, Beijing has banned flights by American carriers, prompting the United States to ban 26 flights by Chinese airlines from the United States to China.
On Thursday, DOT officials expressed concern that Beijing had breached an air transport agreement and been unfair to airlines by enforcing a system that would cause them to cancel flights if a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Department of Transportation, the United States grounded seven Air China Ltd. aircraft departing from New York City and 19 flights departing from Los Angeles operated by Air China, China Eastern Airlines Ltd., China Southern Airlines Ltd., and Xiamen Airlines Ltd.
According to the report, that’s the same as the amount of flights United, American, and Delta had to cancel due to Beijing’s “circuit-breaker” system.
While other countries are learning to live with the virus, the governing Communist Party of China has adopted a “zero COVID” approach to keep it out of China. This has reduced the overall number of cases, but at the expense of disruptions in transportation, industry, and commerce. While Beijing is loosening restrictions, most international travelers are still unable to enter China.
Before August 7th, the DoT said that if nine passengers or more tested positive, the airline might cancel the trip for two weeks or limit the number of passengers to 40 percent of the maximum. It said that starting of the 7th of August, airlines are compelled to cancel a flight if 4 percent or more of passengers have tested positive.
When travellers produce negative test results before flying but test positive upon arrival in China, the agency noted that airlines suffer “undue liability.”
“premised on factors totally beyond of the carriers’ control,” the American statement stated of China’s measures.
If Beijing takes “more circuit-breaker actions,” the statement reads, “we retain the right to take further action.”