Chinese carriers allowed to operate more flights to U.S.

2024-02-28 08:16:48China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The number of passenger flights allowed to be operated by Chinese airlines between China and the United States is set to increase from next month, in the latest step taken to boost direct flight connectivity between the two countries.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Monday that from March 31, Chinese carriers could operate a total of 50 round-trip passenger flights a week, up from the current 35.

The move "is a significant step forward in further normalization of the U.S.-China market in anticipation of the Summer 2024 traffic season", the department said in a statement.

The increase comes months after President Xi Jinping met with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco in November last year.

During the meeting, the leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral dialogue and cooperation in various fields, including significantly increasing flights between the two countries.

China and the U.S. have been working to increase the number of passenger flights between the two countries, after it fell sharply following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation allowed Chinese carriers to operate 12 round-trip passenger flights per week. The number was then increased several times, till it reached 35 in November.

The latest increase to 50 will bring the market to nearly one-third of pre-pandemic levels, according to Reuters, which said more than 150 weekly round-trip passenger flights were allowed by each side before the pandemic hit.

China has called for joint efforts with the U.S. to support and encourage people-to-people exchanges.

It has also taken a series of measures to attract foreign travelers, including those from the U.S., over the past months.

Last month, the Chinese embassy and consulates-general in the U.S. simplified the documents which applicants for a tourist visa are required to submit.

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