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US suspends 26 flights by Chinese airlines in escalating dispute over COVID-19 policies

A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330-243 is seen at gate at Los Angeles International Airport on April 24, 2021. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
August 29, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation is suspending 26 flights by Chinese airlines next month in a dispute over Beijing’s strict policies when travelers test positive for COVID-19.

The retaliatory move follows the Chinese government’s decision to limit inbound flights by U.S. carriers including United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. China’s actions are “adverse to the public interest” and warranted “additional proportionate remedial action by the Department,” the U.S. regulator said in an order dated Thursday.

The U.S. government cited China’s practice of suspending flights by airlines if too many passengers test positive for the coronavirus after arriving even though they must be free of the disease to board a flight.

The temporary flight ban targets service in September by several Chinese airlines, including Air China Ltd., China Eastern Airlines Corp., China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. and Xiamen Airlines Co. Ltd.


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