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U.S. Airways Ask Authorities to Pause Further Flights to China

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The U.S. airline business is anxious that Chinese language carriers take pleasure in an unfair benefit with entry to Russian airspace and China’s authorities.

The U.S. airline business is asking the federal authorities to pause the growth of passenger flights to China, citing “anti-competitive insurance policies of the Chinese language authorities.”

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The letter, addressed to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, mentioned that the Chinese language authorities has applied strict limits on entry to its market because the pandemic. 

“On behalf of the U.S. aviation business, we’re writing to induce you pause extra passenger flights between the USA and the Folks’s Republic of China till U.S. employees and companies are assured equality of entry within the market, free from the prevailing dangerous anti-competitive insurance policies of the Chinese language authorities,” the letter learn. 

The letter was signed by Airways for America, the commerce group that represents main U.S. airways like Delta and United, the Air Line Pilots Affiliation, the Allied Pilots Affiliation and the Affiliation of Flight Attendants. 

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The DOT declined to touch upon the matter. The State Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. 

Stunted Submit-Pandemic Progress as U.S.-China Tensions Simmer

Earlier than the pandemic, airways have been capable of function round 150 weekly flights between the U.S. and China. However each international locations imposed restrictions on the variety of flights initially of the pandemic as geopolitical tensions between them grew. 

And whereas China has resumed pre-pandemic ranges of flying to locations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it’s taken rather a lot longer with the U.S. 

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Till August 2023, U.S. and Chinese language carriers might solely function 12 flights every week between the 2 international locations. The DOT mentioned in February that U.S. and Chinese language carriers might increase weekly flights to 50, beginning March 31. 

“If the expansion of the Chinese language aviation market is allowed to proceed unchecked and with out concern for equality of entry out there, flights will proceed to be relinquished to Chinese language carriers on the expense of U.S. employees and companies,” the letter learn. 

Lack of Entry to Russian Airspace

One other challenge for U.S. airways is that they cannot fly over Russian airspace, whereas Chinese language opponents can. That permits Chinese language carriers to cost much less for sure flights. A4A beforehand mentioned the shortage of entry to Russian airspace has price the U.S. airline business $2 billion in annual market share. 

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U.S. carriers haven’t solely needed to cost extra for flights that may have gone via Russian airspace, however they’ve additionally wanted to alter course, which has resulted in additional layovers and delays in launching new routes within the Asia-Pacific area. 

Shortly after Russia’s invasion into Ukraine in 2022, governments within the U.S., U.Okay., Canada and Europe banned their airways from flying over Russia. Beforehand, U.S. airways had entry to Russian airspace via paying the Russian authorities charges for air visitors management assist, in line with The New York Instances.  

The U.S. airline business has been lobbying the federal government to put extra restrictions on overseas carriers’ skill to fly from the U.S. to such routes. The DOT has additionally thought of banning Chinese language airways from flying over Russian airspace if they’re working from the U.S. 

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Whatever the points with Russian airspace, the letter mentioned U.S. airways are at a aggressive drawback in China as a result of relationships Chinese language airways have with the nation’s authorities. 

“We ask the federal government to take the time to handle these important aggressive points and defend U.S. aviation employees, vacationers and airways,” the letter learn. 

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