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U.S., China agree to expand airline flights between them to 8 per week – MarketWatch

Associated Press

Travel ticking up after months of pandemic-related travel restrictions

A United Airlines aircraft sits on the tarmac at Hong Kong International Airport in 2015.


Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have agreed to double the number of airline flights that each other’s airlines can operate between the countries, from four to eight per week.

The deal marks a further easing of a standoff between the world’s two biggest economies over travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

The U.S. Transportation Department announced the increase Tuesday, saying that China’s aviation authority decided this week to permit expanded flights by United and Delta.

Shortly after the announcement, Chicago-based United Airlines
UAL,
-1.22%

said it will go from two to four flights per week between San Francisco and Shanghai via Seoul, starting Sept. 4.

The Transportation Department said Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines
DAL,
-1.39%

is also eligible to increase its two weekly flights to four. Delta did not comment immediately.

Chinese airlines that already fly to the United States — Air China
753,
+0.77%

, China Eastern Airlines
CEA,
-2.16%

, China Southern Airlines
ZNH,
-3.23%

and Xiamen Airlines — will be allowed to make eight weekly round-trips instead of four, the department said.

The Transportation Department repeated its hope that China will agree to fully restore the treaty rights of U.S. airlines to serve China, but called the most recent increase in flying “a step in the right direction.”

In early January, there were more than 300 flights per week between the two countries, but that number nosedived after the pandemic undercut demand for international air travel. United, Delta and American Airlines
AAL,
-0.15%

suspended flights to China by mid-March.

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