Before the virus outbreak most of the incoming air passenger traffic to China was served by US airlines. With the jets put on hold US airlines loose money. WHO stated that airlines and international travel is the primary vector for spreading the COVID-19 around the world. But US intends to push things back to normal by any means including applying pressure to the foreign states. In doing so Joel Szabat refers to some ‘Aviation Conventions’.
China will continue to drastically limit international air traffic in passenger transport until at least mid-October. But the US government wants the country to be much more flexible and threatens to take steps against Chinese airlines.
Joel Szabat from US Department of transport wrote a letter to seven Chinese airlines. He demands that they report all their flights to the US before May 27, because he wants to see if “they might be against existing law or harm public interest.”
According to Forbes, the information requested is public and not surprising, but the reason Szabat gives for writing his letter would be a threat. China continues to refuse flights from US airlines under the policy to eradicate the corona virus.
United Airlines plans to resume four flights to China next month and Delta Air Lines two a week. However, in Beijing’s current corona policy, an airline is only allowed to operate one flight per week to China. China introduced rigorous restrictions in March, including for its own airlines, and many other countries did exactly the same. The US states that these corona measures now “constitute a restriction incompatible with the Aviation Conventions”.
According to Forbes, Szabat’s letter no longer mentions the corona virus. In the fight against the virus, the United States has also shut down passenger transport, such as the arrival of most Europeans. But the Deputy Minister writes to China that US airlines should now be able to use all the rights they have under bilateral agreements with Beijing.
On Tuesday, the Chinese aviation authority announced that international flights will be limited to at least October. Airlines want to get rid of that restriction. They say they can fly without risk to public health. A number of companies are said to have already started selling future flights, much to the dismay of the Chinese government. It wants to prevent foreigners or Chinese people from crossing the state borders. It is therefore difficult to obtain a visa.