The Trump administration said Friday it will let Chinese airlines operate a limited number of flights to the US, backing down from a a threat to ban the flights.
The decision comes one day after China agreed to ease its own anti-coronavirus restrictions and allow more flights by foreign airlines. The restrictions had blocked US carriers United and Delta from resuming flights between the US and China.
The Transportation Department said it will let Chinese passenger airlines fly a total of two round-trip flights per week between the US and China, which it said would equal the number of flights China’s aviation authority will allow for US carriers.
On Wednesday, the US said it would prohibit all flights by Chinese airlines to and from the US no later than June 16. That marked an escalation of trade and diplomatic tension between the two countries.
Four Chinese airlines currently fly between the US and China.
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines suspended competing flights early this year as demand plummeted in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. United and Delta had petitioned China to resume flights this month. American does not plan to return to China before October.