US says China blocking return of American passenger jets amid coronavirus rules

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The Trump administration late Friday accused China of blocking U.S. passenger flights into the country amid coronavirus restrictions, according to a report.

“China has, over the objections of the U.S. government, impaired the operating rights of U.S. carriers,” Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat wrote in a letter to Chinese airlines, according to Forbes.

Szabat ordered four Chinese airlines to submit flight schedules by next Wednesday to evaluate if the airlines are “contrary to applicable law or adversely affect the public interest.”

He added that U.S. carriers should be able to “exercise their full bilateral rights.”

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Delta Air Lines and United Airlines want to resume multiple flights per week to China in June, Reuters reported. Both have been sending only cargo flights to China during the pandemic.

At the end of January when the virus started to spread across China, the Trump administration temporarily blocked entry into the U.S. for most travelers who had been to China recently, excepting U.S. citizens — but didn’t restrict Chinese flights into the country.

In February, U.S. carriers

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