US to Allow Two Chinese Passenger Flights Per Week
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Friday that Chinese airlines would be limited to just two weekly roundtrip flights between Chinese and American soil until further notice.
Two days earlier, the Trump administration had issued a decision to suspend all passenger flights between the U.S. and China starting on June 16.
The latest directive is less restrictive, but will still affect millions of travelers, including foreign students, business officials, and tourists who rely on direct flights to get between the two countries.
“The Department’s overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights,” said the DOT order.
It comes after months of tit-for-tat retaliation between Trump and Beijing, who have accused one another of failing to adequately respond to the coronavirus crisis, allowing the virus to spread to other countries.
The U.S.-China Business Council, an organization that promotes trade between the two countries, condemned the Trump administration’s decision on Monday, calling on the countries to put an end to the dispute.
“Commercial air travel provides a vital bridge between the U.S. and China.” said Doug Barry, a spokesperson for USCBC, in an email to The Well News. “This travel is especially important during times of conflict, suspicion and misunderstanding. We call on the governments of both countries to get the airplanes flying again—in both directions without arbitrary restrictions as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
The Trump administration has been feuding with Beijing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which epidemiologists say likely emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Trump has accused China of covering up the outbreak and allowing it to spread to the rest of the world, repeatedly inflaming Chinese officials by referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”
In March, as China’s outbreak was winding down and COVID-19 cases were ramping up in the U.S., Beijiing announced that foreign airlines would be limited to one flight per week to China to avoid a second wave of infections in the country. The move effectively banned nearly all international travelers from entering China.
Previously, the U.S. had suspended all flights from Chinese airlines and banned most travelers from China as health officials were sounding the alarm that the coronavirus was quickly spreading throughout America.
According to research by Oxford Economics, travel restrictions related to COVID-19 could cost the U.S. more than $10 billion in Chinese visitor spending in 2020. Each Chinese tourist spends an average of $6,000 per trip to the U.S., excluding money spent on airfare and educational costs, according to the research firm.
In 2019, Chinese tourists spent roughly $33 billion in the U.S. with a total of around 2.8 million visits, a 6% decline from the previous year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The number of Chinese tourists who visit America each year has steadily declined over the last few years due to an ongoing trade war between the two countries.
In The News
WASHINGTON – Last week, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, supporting the Three Seas Initiative unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Three Seas Initiative is a strategic partnership of twelve Central and Eastern European nations with the... Read More
WASHINGTON – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Material conducted a hearing Wednesday exploring the Surface Transportation Board’s part in developments to the country’s passenger rail system. During the hearing, executive officials from Metra, Amtrak and the STB gave expert testimony... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Amtrak’s president asked Congress for a nearly $5 billion bailout Wednesday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to scare passengers away. The result has been a dramatic drop in fare revenue, furloughs and layoffs for thousands of workers and cutbacks of passenger rail service nationwide.... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a "strong recommendation" for mask-wearing by both passengers and operators on planes, trains, buses and taxis to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Masks should cover a person's nose and mouth and be worn while traveling... Read More
WASHINGTON - Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is pushing to kick-start the creation of a new infrastructure grant program that would improve the energy efficiency of the U.S. transportation sector while boosting the nation's competitiveness in the global marketplace. A new bill sponsored by Shaheen -- the... Read More
A House committee issued a scathing report Wednesday questioning whether Boeing and government regulators have recognized the problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and whether either will be willing to make significant changes to fix them. Staff members from the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee... Read More