US, China to each allow 4 weekly flights for airlines; Delta to fly next week

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, the US Transportation Department said on Monday (June 15), easing a standoff on travel restrictions in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Following the Chinese government approval, Delta Air Lines said it would resume passenger flights to Shanghai from Seattle next week via Seoul, and once weekly flights from Seattle and Detroit beginning in July.

Planes belonging to Delta Air Lines sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 3, 2020.
Planes belonging to Delta Air Lines sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 3, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

In a statement, the Transportation Department said it will continue to press for the full restoration of passenger air travel between the United States and China, in part to allow for the repatriation of Chinese students who have been unable to fly home because of the shortage of flights.

“As the Chinese government allows more flights by US carriers, we will reciprocate,” it said.

A person briefed on the matter said Chinese authorities have agreed to some changes on requirements for US carriers flying there, including allowing temperature checks to be done before flights take off for China, rather than mid-flight as previously discussed.

United Airlines had also asked for approval to resume flights to China in June.

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