US authorities are pulling back on their threat to block Chinese airlines from flying into the US after the Chinese government changed its own policy.
Friday’s announcement from the Department of Transportation follows a decision by Chinese civil aviation regulators on Thursday to allow in a limited number of flights from US carriers.
What devolved into a tit-for-tat between the two countries began when interest in flying from the US into China dropped off due to the coronavirus pandemic. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines eventually suspended their service between the two countries. The US government eventually imposed some travel restrictions.
When Delta and United sought to resume service, they found Chinese government restrictions would not permit it, according to the Transportation Department. Chinese carriers, however, conducted limited service between the two countries.
So on Wednesday, the Transportation Department determined the Chinese government was violating an international travel agreement between the two countries, and said it would soon restrict Chinese flights into the US.
Chinese officials responded on Thursday by easing their restrictions in a way that will allow Delta and United to conduct one weekly round-trip flight.
The US Transportation Department said it still believes the Chinese government has “impaired the operating rights of U.S. carriers,” but that it will allow the country’s airlines “a total of two weekly round-trip scheduled passenger flights to and from the United States.”
It said the Chinese government may select which airlines will make the flights.
The Transportation Department said it hopes the move leads to an “improved environment” for carriers of both countries, rather than long-term restrictions.
CNN’s Steven Jiang contributed to this report.