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The US aviation industry has raised concerns about the competitive disadvantage American airlines and workers face due to China’s anti-competitive policies. In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, industry lobby group Airlines for America and other aviation unions highlighted the impact on the approximately 315,000 workers employed by US passenger airlines that serve China. The letter emphasized that the growth of the Chinese aviation market must be checked to ensure equality of access and prevent flights from being relinquished to Chinese carriers at the expense of US workers and businesses.

While Washington announced in February that it would allow Chinese airlines to increase direct passenger flights to the United States, the US aviation industry has requested the Biden administration to pause approval of additional flights to and from China. Chinese carriers were granted permission to increase their weekly round trips to 50, up from 35, but this number still falls significantly short of the more than 150 weekly round trips allowed by each side before the pandemic. The industry has expressed concerns about China’s strict limits on market access and challenging rules that affect operations, customers, and the treatment of US airline crew.

The letter stressed that the anti-competitive disadvantage with China has worsened in 2022, particularly as Chinese airlines continued to access Russian airspace while US carriers were forced to avoid it due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This situation has added time and costs to flights, further impacting the competitiveness of American airlines. The US aviation industry believes that the US government must establish a policy to protect US aviation workers, industry, and air travelers in the face of such challenges. In order to ensure fair competition and prevent further disadvantage to American airlines and workers, the industry is calling for a pause in the approval of additional flights to and from China.

The request to pause approval of additional flights to and from China comes amidst ongoing concerns about the impact of China’s policies on US airlines and workers. The letter from the US aviation industry reflects a growing sense of urgency to address the competitive disadvantage that American airlines face in the Chinese aviation market. By highlighting the challenges posed by China’s anti-competitive policies, the industry is advocating for measures to protect US aviation workers, industry, and air travelers from further harm. The call for action underscores the need for the US government to take decisive steps to address these issues and ensure a level playing field for American carriers.

As the US aviation industry continues to raise concerns about the competitive disadvantage faced by American airlines and workers, the Biden administration will need to carefully consider the implications of China’s anti-competitive policies on the aviation sector. The industry’s call for a pause in the approval of additional flights to and from China underscores the need for a comprehensive policy response to protect US interests in the aviation market. By examining the impacts of China’s policies on market access and operational challenges, US officials can work towards addressing the concerns raised by the aviation industry and safeguarding the competitiveness of American carriers in the global aviation industry.

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