US-China flights are set to double amid easing of travel restrictions

US-China flights are set to double amid easing of travel restrictions

Each country will gain an additional six weekly round-trip flights from next month

United Airlines said it will increase flying between San Francisco and Shanghai beginning in October. AFP

United Airlines said it will increase flying between San Francisco and Shanghai beginning in October. AFP

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The number of flights between the US and China is set to double by the end of October as the countries relax travel restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each country will gain an additional six weekly round-trip flights as of September 1, up from the current 12, according to a US Transportation Department order Friday. The total will rise to 24 flights for each nation as of October 29, split between the three largest US carriers and six Chinese airlines.

The “overriding goal” of the increased flying is to “maintain competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among US and Chinese air carriers,” the DOT said.

Air service between the two countries, which averaged 340 flights per week before the pandemic, has struggled to recover since the US blocked such flying.

Officials said China had violated an existing air service agreement between the two countries with severe coronavirus requirements.

United Airlines said it will increase flying between San Francisco and Shanghai beginning in October and resume routes between the US city and Beijing the following month. In a statement Friday, the carrier attributed the decision to the new agreement between the nations.

Reuters earlier reported the plans to increase US-China flights.

Updated: August 12, 2023, 11:40 AM

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