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U.S. airlines and their unions are urging the Biden administration to stop flights to China

America Airline (Trent Warner/ Getty Images)

U.S. airlines and aviation unions have joined together to ask the Biden administration to stop approving additional flights between China and the United States.

Their main worry is about what they see as unfair policies from the Chinese government.

This request comes after the U.S. Transportation Department said in February that it would let airlines make more round-trip flights between the two countries. Starting March 31, Chinese airlines can now have up to 50 flights each week.

American airlines can also have the same number of flights, but they aren’t using all of them right now.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Airlines for America and top aviation unions like the Air Line Pilots Association and Association of Flight Attendants pointed out that Chinese airlines have an advantage because they can fly over Russia. U.S. airlines stopped doing that when Russia started attacking Ukraine in March 2022.

China Eastern Airline (Via Kane Smith/Getty Images)

The letter says there shouldn’t be more passenger flights until American workers and businesses are treated the same in China’s market.

This request matches what U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi said. They lead the House Select Committee on China and want the Biden administration to hold off on approving more flights until China follows the rules they already agreed to and more people want to fly.

Before COVID-19, there were over 150 round-trip flights each week between China and the U.S. Limits in early 2020 cut that down to 12 flights each week for both sides. It went up again in August 2023.

Even though more flights are now allowed, people are still worried about fairness, competition, and safety when it comes to who can use airspace.

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