The Trump administration said Wednesday that it will block Chinese airlines from flying into the U.S. beginning from June 16 as a retaliatory measure against Beijing’s current policy to prevent of American carriers from flying into China.
The decision, announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, comes as tensions between the two superpowers have plummeted in the recent weeks over China’s new controversial national security law for Hong Kong and continued tensions due to the coronavirus.
The move is a retaliation against China for failing to abide by existing agreements on international travel between the two countries.
“The Department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both U.S. and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights,” it said in a statement. “In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours.”
For the film industry, the policy escalation means that collaborations with China will continue remain difficult for the foreseeable future, with American talent, crews and executive unable to travel freely between China and the U.S.
On March 26, Chinese aviation authorities announced that foreign carriers running flights into the country at the time would be limited to a single flight per week. The decision effectively prohibited major U.S. carriers United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines from providing those services, as they had already stopped flying those routes due to the coronavirus.
United and Delta requested to resume flights to China again on June 1, but received no response from Chinese officials — prompting U.S. authorities to press Beijing not to violate an existing agreement on international travel that says policies “equally apply to all domestic and foreign carriers” in both countries, according to the New York Times.
Delta said in a Wednesday statement on Wednesday that “support[s] and appreciate[s] the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness.” United said that it hopes to resume services “when the regulatory environment allows us to do so.”
Chinese authorities have not yet been able to say when they might reconsider allowing inbound flights from the U.S.