DALLAS — According to the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT), Chinese passenger airlines can increase their weekly round-trip flights to the US from 35 to 50 (42.86%) starting on March 31.

This decision brings the market back to nearly one-third of pre-pandemic levels. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese and U.S. carriers could operate more than 150 weekly round-trip passenger flights between the two countries.

A report from Reuters‘ David Shepardson, who first broke the news, recalls how, from August 2023 until now, each side was limited to only 12 weekly flights. The number of flights gradually increased to 18 on September 1, 2023, and then to 24 per week starting October 29, 2023. In November 2023, the U.S. Transportation Department approved 35 weekly round-trip flights for Chinese carriers.

Airlines for America (A4A), representing the three biggest international US airlines operating 31 weekly flights to China, expressed support for the U.S. government’s gradual reopening of the market with the Asian giant.

The report also mentions that the Chinese embassy in Washington also welcomed the positive progress in increasing direct passenger flights between China and the U.S. They stated that they are working to facilitate cross-border travel further and promote people-to-people exchange between the two countries.

China Eastern Airlines B-7343 Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways
China Eastern Airlines B-7343 Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

A Return to Normalcy


In August 2022, amidst a dispute over COVID-19 restrictions, the US government halted 26 flights by Chinese airlines from the United States to China following Beijing’s suspension of flights by US carriers.

The Department of Transportation (DoT) complained to Beijing, alleging a breach of an air transport agreement and unfair treatment of US airlines for requiring them to cancel flights due to positive COVID-19 tests among travelers. Seven flights by Air China (CA) from New York City and a total of 19 flights by CA, China Eastern Airlines (MU), China Southern Airlines (CZ), and Xiamen Airlines (MF) from Los Angeles (LAX) were suspended by US regulators.

In retaliation, the US suspended an equal number of flights to match the cancellations imposed on United Airlines (UA), American Airlines (AA), and Delta Air Lines (DL) under Beijing’s “circuit-breaker” system. That was two years ago.

Today’s DOT announcement to increase the weekly round-trip flights between China and the U.S. is a positive development that signals a gradual return to regular air travel between the two countries.

China Souther Airlines B-20E7 Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways
China Souther Airlines B-20E7 Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Major Chinese Airlines Flying to the US


Several Chinese airlines fly to the US in 2024. Here are the major ones, with figures showing flights in both directions as per Cirium Diio data:

  • China’s flag carrier, Air China (CA), operates Boeing 777-300ER flights from Beijing (PEK) and Shenzhen (SZX) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and New York (JFK), with 98 scheduled flights for March 2024 and 280 for Q1 2024.
  • China Eastern Airlines (MU), one of China’s largest airlines, also flies Boeing 777-300ER from Shanghai (PVG) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and New York (JFK), with 82 scheduled flights for March 2024 and 235 for Q1 2024.
  • China Southern Airlines (CZ) operates Boeing 777-300ER flights from Guangzhou (CAN) and Wuhan (WUH) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and New York (JFK), with 64 scheduled flights for March 2024 and 182 for Q1 2024.
  • Xiamen Airlines (MF) flies the Boeing 787-9 from Xiamen (XMN) to Los Angeles (LAX) with 25 scheduled flights for March 2024 and 77 for Q1 2024.
  • Hainan Airlines (HU) offers fewer flights to the US, also with the Boeing 787-9, with 14 scheduled flights from Beijing (PEK) to Boston (BOS) for March 2024 and 39 for Q1 2024.

Featured image: B-2089 Air China Boeing 777-300ER YVR/CYVR. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways

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Article source: https://airwaysmag.com/chinese-airlines-us-flights-50-weekly/

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