The United States and China will each allow four weekly flights between the two countries, according to the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

According to the department, China had previously blocked US air carriers from resuming passenger services between the two countries. The US responded with an order that would limit Chinese air carriers to the total number of flights US air carriers were allowed to fly on June 16, said the DOT.

However, the department said it is now amending its order to allow Chinese airlines to continue to fly four weekly flights between China and the United States in response to being allowed to fly four weekly flights to China.

“We welcome this action by the Chinese government, as an important first step to fully restore air travel. Consequently, the Department is amending its order to allow the Chinese air carriers to continue to fly four weekly flights between China and the United States,” reads a statement from the department.

In March, The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) said it was limiting the number of international flights coming in and out of China in order to curtail the rise of imported coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country. Chinese airlines were only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week each, while foreign airlines were only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight, CAAC said in the statement posted on its website on March 26.

DOT said it will continue to “press for the full restoration of passenger air travel” between the two countries “in part to allow for the repatriation of Chinese students who have been unable to fly home due to the shortage of flights”.

US carrier Delta said it plans to operate flights to Shanghai (via Incheon) from both Detroit and Seattle in July, but this is “subject to government approval”.

Delta’s June schedule shows that it is planning to fly its Seattle to Shanghai via Seoul-Incheon route this month. The airline told Business Traveller Asia Pacific that flights are scheduled to resume next week, starting June 25. However, the carrier notes on its website that the restart of its passenger flights to China is still subject to government approval.

When asked for an update on American Airlines’ plans to resume services to China following the DOT announcement, a spokesperson from the airline told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific the following: “At this time American plans to resume service to Beijing and Shanghai from both Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX) in October 2020”.

United told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that it is aiming to re-launch its service to China “in the weeks ahead”.

In May, Air China published its June schedule on its website showing plans to fly its Beijing Capital-Los Angeles route this month.