USDOT Greenlights Expansion: Chinese Airlines Set to Increase Weekly Flights to US, Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels”

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USDOT Greenlights Expansion: Chinese Airlines Set to Increase Weekly Flights to US, Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels”

USDOT Greenlights Expansion: Chinese Airlines Set to Increase Weekly Flights to US, Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels”

Greetings Travel Enthusiasts,

In a significant stride towards normalizing travel between China and the United States, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has approved Chinese passenger airlines to boost their weekly flights to the US. Commencing from March 31, the number of weekly round-trip flights will increase from the current limit of 35 to a more robust 50, marking a crucial step towards restoring travel to nearly one-third of pre-pandemic levels.

Gradual Reopening of the U.S.-China Market

As the world grappled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions significantly impacted the number of weekly round-trip flights between China and the US. The new approval from USDOT signals a gradual reopening of the market, with the aim of reaching a more normalized state in anticipation of the Summer 2024 traffic season.

Airlines for America Supports Incremental Reopening

Airlines for America, the group representing major U.S. carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, expressed support for the gradual and reciprocal reopening of the market. These three U.S. carriers currently operate a combined total of 31 weekly flights to China. The measured approach to reopening is deemed imperative by the group, emphasizing the need for a careful and reciprocal process.

Positive Reception from the Chinese Embassy

The Chinese embassy, situated in Washington DC, welcomed the positive progress in increasing direct passenger flights between China and the US. Expressing satisfaction with the development, the embassy stated its commitment to continued efforts in fostering increased travel and connectivity between the two nations.

A Step Closer to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, both Chinese and U.S. carriers were permitted more than 150 weekly round-trip flights. The pandemic-induced restrictions led to a significant reduction, with the number plummeting to as low as eight weekly flights. The gradual easing of restrictions has seen steady increases, with the current approval taking the weekly flights to 50, a substantial move towards the levels observed before the global health crisis.

A Recap of Flight Increases

The journey to this point involved a series of approvals for flight increases. In August 2023, Chinese and U.S. carriers received approval to offer up to 18 weekly round-trip flights, following a period of severely restricted routes. This limitation forced U.S. carriers to navigate restrictions on Russian airspace, utilizing ultra-long-range aircraft or incorporating fuel stops for smaller planes.

Subsequent approvals in October 2023 further elevated the number of weekly round-trip flights, allowing Chinese carriers to operate 24 weekly flights to the U.S. The reciprocal nature of these increases demonstrated a commitment to restoring connectivity and facilitating travel recovery.

A Promising Outlook for Travel

With this recent approval, the aviation industry anticipates a brighter outlook for travel between China and the United States. As we inch closer to pre-pandemic flight levels, the collaborative efforts between the two nations and the aviation sector pave the way for a revitalized travel landscape.

Safe Travels,

Aviation Indeed Team

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