China said on Monday it opposes all U.S. restrictions imposed against Chinese airlines, responding to a report that the U.S. Transportation Department has demanded Chinese carriers file their schedules and other flight details by May 27, Reuters reported.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said flight restrictions imposed by Beijing treated all airlines equally and were due to efforts to curb COVID-19 related risks.
The U.S. government late on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China. The government is also threatening action against Chinese airlines, bullying Beijing to lift coronavirus restrictions on passenger flights, Forbes adds.
United Airlines wants to resume four routes to China next month while Delta Air Lines wants to resume two. But a temporary Chinese policy allows an airline only one route.
“China has, over the objections of the U.S. government, impaired the operating rights of U.S. carriers,” U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat wrote to Chinese airlines in a public letter.
Szabat ordered seven Chinese airlines to submit their U.S. flight schedules by May 27. It is a banal procedure of publicly available information – take off time, aircraft type, codeshare – but Szabat said the U.S. would assess if those Chinese flights “may be contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest.”
This dispute dates to March when China restricted airlines to having one passenger flight into the country, a limitation that gave China time to develop health protocols for screening international flights.