The Beijing Winter Games open on February 4, and participants usually take special flights limited to those with OIympics credentials as part of a strict bubble that authorities are implementing around the event.
Since June, China’s Civil Aviation Administration has applied a so-called “circuit-breaker” rule to international flights. That rule means that a flight is automatically suspended for two weeks if five or more passengers test positive when landing in China. If 10 or more passengers test positive, the suspension period will be extended.
From December 24 to January 12, according to data from Umetrip, an app developed by China’s state aviation industry, more than a third of 9,356 international flights scheduled to depart for China were cancelled. IT provider TravelSky.
During this period, a growing number of passengers on flights from the United States — operated by both American and Chinese airlines — tested positive upon arrival in China, triggering a spate of cancellations just before the Olympics and the Lunar New Year, China’s most important holiday. .
“U.S. carriers are concerned about the implications of a disruption and continue to assess the impact on operations,” Airlines for America, a Washington-based trade group that represents major U.S. carriers, said in a statement Thursday. “We are in talks with the US and Chinese governments to find a path forward that minimizes the impact on travelers.”
CNN Business has asked for comment from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has the authority to suspend the eight weekly U.S. flights of four Chinese airlines.