The Department of Transportation on Friday rejected additional flights between the U.S. and China that Chinese airlines requested, saying that they are trying to “maintain the parity” in scheduled services between the two countries.
The Trump administration eased restrictions earlier this week to allow a total of four roundtrip flights between the U.S. and China by Chinese airlines. This came after China said it would allow two U.S. airlines - United Airlines and Delta Airlines - to make two round trip flights each weekly.
“That parity gives the carriers of each side the ability to operate four (4) round-trip scheduled passenger operations each week,” the DOT said in its order.
The DOT said its rejection of additional flights Friday “should not be viewed as an escalation” and that the department is willing to revisit the action if Chinese authorities are willing to adjust their policies affecting U.S. airlines.
Delta says it plans to soon operate flights from Detroit and Seattle to Shanghai via South Korea.
United Airlines said that the talks between the U.S. and China are a good sign, but the airline is still developing plans.
“We welcome efforts to allow for resumption of our service between the U.S. and China for the benefit of our customers,” United told FOX Business in a statement. “United aims to re-launch our service to China in the weeks ahead.”
The DOT said earlier this month that the ball is in China’s court.
“We will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese government allows ours,” the administration said in a statement on June 3.
China’s embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.