S airlines were permitted to operate flights to the Chinese mainland from June 8 after the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on June 4 it would lift its ban and launch a “reward and circuit breaker” mechanism on international flights.
The CAAC has implemented what they called the “Five One” policy since March 29, under which each airline operating flights to China, including mainland carriers, was allowed to operate one flight a week on one route from one country. These single flights were allowed if that airline was operating flights on the week of March 12. However, many foreign carriers including United and Delta had already suspended flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic. US and other foreign airlines are keen to restart flights to China.
The CAAC’s latest statement says that foreign airlines can operate a flight once a week even if they were not operating on March 12 to one of the 37 mainland cities the CAAC listed as capable of receiving and testing passengers from abroad.
To control the number of potential imported Covid-19 cases, the CAAC said there would be a “reward and circuit breaker” mechanism that allows a flight to operate twice a week if the number of on-arrival nucleic acid testing of passengers is zero for three consecutive weeks. If five or more people test positive for the virus on arrival, the flight will be suspended for one week and if the figure reaches 10 or above, the suspension will be extended to four weeks.
The new policy is expected to increase overseas flights to the mainland by 44 each week.