France cuts China flights to just one a weekWorld | 15 Jul 2020 10:26 am
Passenger flights between China and France have been reduced to two flights per week, with each country operating one flight, as France implemented flight restrictions for Chinese airlines from Monday, according to the country's aviation regulator, the China Daily reports.
Citing an unpublished document from the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Monday, news outlet Caixin said that French carriers are unable to obtain approval from airports in China to receive additional flights to China for the time being and thus France imposed countermeasures to curb Chinese flights.
Germany is also planning to impose similar restrictions on flights operated by Chinese airlines.
The number of flights operated by Chinese airlines between China and France will be slashed from three per week to one, while China-Germany flights operated by Chinese airlines will temporarily remain unchanged at two per week, the administration added in the document.
Before the French restrictions, three Chinese carriers-Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines-were each authorized to operate one weekly flight between Chinese cities and Paris.
In response to the flight curbs, the Chinese embassy in France said on its social media account on Tuesday that: "The French side unilaterally reduced related flights, causing damage to Chinese airlines and the people of both countries. We deeply regret its decision."
The latest spat was rooted in the administration's decision in late March that carriers could fly no more than the number of international flights they were operating between March 16 and 22, with foreign airlines allowed to operate just one flight a week to China.
As French passenger airlines had already suspended all flights linked to China by the date, their cap was set at zero, while Chinese carriers' flights to France continued.
The Chinese embassy noted that considering the friendship between China and France, China gave France special care and allowed Air France to operate one flight per week in line with the country's international flight policy after France filed a request to resume flights to China on May 30.
However, the French side insisted Air France alone should fly three flights a week based on the principle of reciprocity and asked to land all three weekly flights in Shanghai, the embassy added.
Given the number of international flights Shanghai is receiving, the city has already been faced with immense pressure in epidemic control and prevention. Yet the country still agreed to allow Air France to carry out three flights a week, including one to Shanghai, the embassy said.
"We hope the French side will re-examine the relevant decisions with the overall interests of bilateral relations in mind, return to the path of dialogue and consultation, make concerted efforts with China, and properly resolve flight-related matters between the two countries," the embassy said.