China's top civil aviation regulator said on Wednesday that it would increase the number of flights from certain countries that meet specific anti-viral requirements and related criteria, as the demand for business and other travel back to China is skyrocketing due to an accelerating pace of work resumption following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign businesses from the US to Europe that operate in the Chinese market are seeking to open more channels such as chartered flights for their employees to return to China, some are even actively pushing for establishing what's known as a "green channel" (fast lane) between China and their home countries, several companies and business groups told the Global Times.
Following a major adjustment to the country's pandemic regulations on international flights that paved way for more services, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Wednesday that it has been in talks with "relevant countries" regarding increasing the number of flights and such talks could yield positive results soon.
However, Xiong stressed that strict anti-viral efforts are a prerequisite for any resumption of flights, while pointing to four specific previously announced criterion for countries that could resume more flights to and from China. Qualified countries are those that have exported less COVID-19 cases to China, have close economic ties with China, have effective anti-viral capabilities to reduce risks, have an urgency for work resumption and have already established "green channels" for business travel with China.
Under the rules, South Korea and Singapore, which already have "green channels" with China could see more flights in and out of the country, analysts said. Other countries such as the US, Japan and some in Southeast Asia and Europe could also see more flights, chartered or otherwise, some insiders say, though some say increasing flights between China and the US could be challenging due to the deteriorating bilateral relationship.
Still, reading between the lines, it is clear that flights between China and the US will be increased, Zheng Hongfeng, CEO of information provider VariFlight, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
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