The United States will also suspend 44 flights of four China Airlines to China, China urges to stop interference

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Friday that it would suspend 44 flights to the U.S. operated by four Chinese airlines. The Chinese embassy in the U.S. responded that the U.S. move was very unreasonable, and urged the U.S. to stop interfering with and restricting the normal passenger flights of Chinese airlines.

The U.S. Transportation Department said the move was in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some U.S. airline flights over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The Biden administration’s move comes after Chinese authorities suspended a combined 44 flights of United Airlines, American Airlines Group and Delta Air Lines starting Jan. 19 after passengers tested positive for the virus .

China Southern Airlines president and CEO confirmed as speaker for World  Routes 2018 | Routes

As a countermeasure, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered on the 21st to suspend a total of 44 flights to the United States from four airlines including Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines from the 30th of this month to March 29th.

The U.S. Transportation Department said China’s suspension of some flights “is not in the public interest and warrants appropriate remedial action.” The statement added that China’s “unilateral action against the named U.S. airline is inconsistent with bilateral agreements between the United States and China.” The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is fully prepared to reconsider this action if China revises “its policies to bring about the necessary improvements for U.S. airlines.” But it also warned that if China cancels the update “We reserve the right to take further action.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the United States, responded Friday that the policy on international passenger flights into China “did equal treatment to Chinese and foreign airlines in a fair, open and transparent manner.” He called the U.S. move “very unreasonable” and added, “We urge the U.S. side to stop disrupting and restricting the normal passenger flights of Chinese airlines.”

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Reuters reported that the number of cancelled U.S. flights has surged since December as infections caused by a highly contagious variant of Omicron surged to a record high in the United States.

The U.S. and China have been arguing over air services since the outbreak began. In August last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation restricted some flights from China to the U.S. to operate at a 40 percent load factor for four weeks. The Chinese government previously imposed similar restrictions on four United Airlines flights.