Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

American Airlines and United Airlines Holdings have banned at least six flights by Chinese regulators.

American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chinese aviation regulators have blocked some of their flights from access as the country tightens precautions against Covid-19, which has sparked talks between industry representatives and government agencies.

At least six of American’s flights have been banned from China, a spokesman said Tuesday and declined to provide further details. United canceled flights from San Francisco to Shanghai in six days at the end of January. Delta Air Lines Inc. declined to comment.

The flights are among 60 between the two countries that the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration has ordered to be canceled because passengers tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in the country, Reuters reported, including 22 by US carriers. The action is the latest battle between the US and China over flights between the countries and changing requirements to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

“US airlines are concerned about the implications of a disruption and continue to evaluate the impact on operations,” Airlines for America, the lobbying group for major US airlines, said in a statement. “We are in communication with the US and Chinese governments to identify a way forward that minimizes the impact on travelers.”

Play VideoUnited usually has four weekly flights from San Francisco to Shanghai, while American flies to the Chinese city twice a week from Dallas-Fort Worth. Delta flies twice a week from Detroit and Seattle to Shanghai. Airlines for America did not comment on the total number of flights canceled by US airlines.

The US engaged China in talks at the end of December after possible changes to new aircraft cleaning requirements led to a Delta flight to return to Seattle. The new mandates – spurred by the proliferation of Covid-19 – significantly extend the time planes are on the ground and largely copy steps that U.S. airlines are already taking to clean up between flights, industry representatives said at the time.

Certain Covid-related restrictions imposed by China on airlines from other countries violate a treaty governing air travel between the two nations, the US said. On August 18, the U.S. Department of Transportation imposed restrictions on Chinese airline flights to the United States after the Chinese government restricted capacity on United Airlines flights to that country.

Hong Kong will ban air passengers from designated high-risk countries from traveling through Hong Kong International Airport, people familiar with the matter said. This is the latest step in the financial hub’s aggressive effort to protect itself against the omicron coronavirus variant.

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