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Chinese airlines are afraid to fly in Russian airspace

Chinese airlines are avoiding Russian airspace on newly approved flights to and from the US.

According to Reuters, citing data from flight tracking website FlightAware and industry representatives, the Chinese flights recently approved by Washington do not fly over Russia.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Aviation and International Affairs Annie Petsonk declined to answer questions about whether the Biden administration required Chinese carriers to avoid Russian airspace as a condition for approving the four new flights.

Petsonk said the gradual increase to 12 flights for China and the United States “is kind of the measured pace that we’re likely to see.” The 12 weekly flights are just a fraction of the more than 150 round-trip flights allowed by each side before the restrictions were imposed in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese Airlines and the Russian Sky

In May 2022, China closed the skies for Boeings of Russian airlines.

In February, two US senators called on the Biden administration to ban Chinese airlines from flying over Russia on US routes.

Russia has banned US airlines and other foreign carriers from flying over its airspace in response to Washington’s ban on Russian flights over the US in March 2022 after the country invaded Ukraine.

On May 3, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) said it would allow Chinese airlines to increase the number of flights to the US to 12 round-trip flights per week, equal to the number of flights allowed by Beijing for US carriers. Previously, Chinese carriers allowed only eight flights per week.

On May 18, USDOT approved Air China’s (601111. SS) new weekly flight from Beijing to New York, China Eastern’s (600115.SS) new weekly flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles, Xiamen Airlines’ third weekly flight from Xiamen to Los Angeles. China Southern’s (600029.SS) second weekly flight from Guangzhou to Los Angeles. Xiamen and China Southern flights were operated on May 30.

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