China-US Flights Set to Double by October

China-US Flights Set to Double by October

News 2023-09-19

The Biden Administration, with backing from the US Department of Transportation, revealed a significant development last week: flights connecting China and the United States operated by Chinese carriers will undergo a doubling process.

China-US flights doubling: is reciprocity reviving air travel?

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The phased implementation is set to commence on September 1, with weekly round-trips increasing to a total of eighteen, followed by a further boost to 24 per week starting October 29. The current count stands at merely 12 weekly round-trip flights servicing the China route.

As highlighted by Reuters, reciprocity is at play here. China has reciprocated by extending the same courtesy to American carriers within its borders, coinciding with the relaxation of pandemic-induced travel restrictions. This means broader access to group tours for travelers from more nations, including the United States.

The action has already spurred proactive measures from airline companies. Air China, for instance, has expressed its intention to introduce an additional weekly flight linking Los Angeles and Beijing. Meanwhile, United Airlines is seizing the opportunity to expand its reach, not only resuming flights to Beijing but also initiating daily service to Shanghai.

The USDOT's approval order, released on Friday, August 11, emphasized a core objective: establishing a more favorable landscape wherein both parties' carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights. The aim is to cultivate a competitive equilibrium and ensure equitable opportunities for US and Chinese air carriers alike.

While the doubling of weekly flights between these two nations, often characterized by economic rivalry, marks a notable progression, it remains a modest stride in the context of the past. The once-frequent exchange of 150 round-trip flights, a figure that was typical before the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, highlights the substantial reduction caused by recent global circumstances.

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