HomeBusinessChina's international flight suspensions leave travellers stranded, hurt businesses

China’s international flight suspensions leave travellers stranded, hurt businesses

The zero-COVID mentality is prone to keep for many of 2022, Bank of America Securities analysts mentioned in a observe on Tuesday (Jan 18), in unhealthy information for the 845,000 overseas passport holders in China, a quantity already lowered because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic.

China’s aviation regulator in January alone cancelled 143 return flights because the extremely transmissible Omicron variant spreads throughout the globe, based on a report from Chinese aviation knowledge supplier flight grasp final Friday.

That was probably the most in a month because it launched a coverage of suspending flights when optimistic circumstances have been present in June 2020.

The flight suspensions, which additionally embody some providers to Europe and different elements of Asia, are one of many largest challenges confronted by corporations doing enterprise in China, mentioned a spokesperson for the Europe Chamber of Commerce in China.

“The recent cancellations send a clear message that China will not deviate from its current strategy,” the spokesperson mentioned, referring to the zero-COVID coverage.

China now requires passengers to have began expensive COVID-19 assessments seven days earlier than boarding within the departure metropolis of their direct flight into China. That creates a headache for travellers like Law who are usually not primarily based in US cities with direct flights.

Tough journey insurance policies in transit hubs for US-China travellers like Taiwan, Korea and Japan additionally successfully rule out less expensive oblique flights.

A Google Flights search by Reuters reveals no flights from San Francisco to Shanghai can be found for reserving till late March at any value.

Jing Quan, minister of the Chinese embassy within the United States, mentioned Beijing is working carefully with the US State Department to strike a stability on the variety of industrial flights to China. Charter flights for Olympics athletes haven’t been affected, he mentioned.

There has additionally been much less of an affect on cargo. China Southern Airlines plans to fly its A380 superjumbos with cargo solely from Los Angeles to Guangzhou, whereas carrying passengers within the different course, it instructed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Hainan Airlines has obtained US approvals for cargo-only flights utilizing passenger planes and China Eastern is searching for the same nod, based on DOT filings.

While that may be a consolation to exporters, it gives little solace to stranded travellers like Law.

“COVID will not go away I am afraid. It is here to stay,” he mentioned. “What’s China going to do, close its borders for the next five or 10 years while the world outside of China learns to manage, live and gain herd immunity? It’s nuts.”

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