This seems more of a symbolic announcement by China than anything else, with a best-case scenario of 407 flights, up from 134, per week potentially allowed.
China’s aviation authority will consider increasing international flights as long as imported coronavirus risks are under control, state media China News reported on Wednesday, citing the agency’s deputy director, Li Jian.
The maximum number of international flights now allowed is 134 a week under restrictions imposed on March 29 to stop cases of the novel coronavirus being imported.
But the number would be increased to 407 a week from June 1, said Li of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The CAAC has come under fierce criticism from Chinese people stranded abroad for drastically reducing the number of international flights in March.
Li did not elaborate on which carriers would be operating the new flights.
Mainland carriers are allowed to fly just one flight a week on one route to any country, while foreign airlines have been allowed to operate just one flight a week to China.
But many foreign airlines have not been flying to China at all because they suspended services before the CAAC flight curbs.
Li said it was likely that the number of flights would be fewer than 407, given expected fluctuating demand on some routes.
(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Toby Chopra, Robert Birsel)
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Photo credit: China imposed a limit of 134 international flights a week on March 29 to stop cases of coronavirus being imported. Zephyr_p / Adobe