Trade group Airlines for America and unions the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants have sent a letter to Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, urging him to pause additional passenger flights between the United States and China until US workers and businesses are granted equality of access in the marketplace without the “harmful anti-competitive policies of the Chinese government.”

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government “implemented strict limits on market access, as well as imposing challenging rules affecting operations,” said the letter, seen by ch-aviation. This, alongside the ban of US carriers from flying over Russian airspace and government protection of Chinese airlines, have given US carriers a “competitive disadvantage” harmful to the nearly 315,000 people employed by US passenger airlines that serve China.

In February, the US Department of Transportation allowed Chinese carriers to operate up to 50 weekly flights from March 31, restoring the market to nearly one-third of pre-pandemic levels. Reuters says US airlines are worried the Biden administration could again raise the number of frequencies allowed by both sides, or even double it to 100.

The ch-aviation schedules module shows Air China, American Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, United Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines currently operate between both countries, totalling 88 weekly roundtrips. The US carriers operate 31 of these, serving the Dallas/Fort Worth-Shanghai Pudong (American Airlines), Detroit Metropolitan-Shanghai, Seattle Tacoma International-Shanghai (Delta Air Lines), San Francisco-Beijing Capital, and San Francisco-Shanghai (United Airlines) routes.