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Trump administration to block passenger flights from China

The Trump administration is planning to block Chinese passenger carriers from flying into the United States, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation made this announcement on Wednesday, saying China is still "unable" to say when it will "allow U.S. carriers to reinstate scheduled passenger flights."

As The New York Times explains, China has essentially stopped U.S. airlines from being able to resume service to the country; in March, China's regulators "limited foreign carriers to one flight per week based on the flight schedules they had in place earlier that month," the Times writes, but "all three American airlines that fly between China and the United States had stopped service to the country by then because of the coronavirus pandemic." As a result, the Transportation Department says, China "effectively precludes U.S. carriers from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to China."

Given this, the Transportation Department said it's required "to restore a competitive balance" by taking this action. Delta Air Lines, which is seeking to resume flights to China, on Wednesday expressed support for the administration's announcement, saying, "we support and appreciate the U.S. government's actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness."

The ban is reportedly set to go into effect on June 16, though the Transportation Department says that should China "adjust its policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers," it's "fully prepared to revisit the action."