Scheduled passenger traffic between the United States and China is set to increase after regulatory authorities on either side increased the market's weekly quota from four to eight flights.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) said in a filing this week that effective August 18, its decision to permit Chinese carriers to operate, in the aggregate, a total of eight weekly round-trip scheduled passenger flights to and from the United States, mirrors that which the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has permitted US carriers.

"On August 12, 2020, CAAC informed the Department that, pursuant to its June 4, 2020 Notice, United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) and Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) qualified for additional flight frequencies," it said. "Per the terms of the Notice, United and Delta are now eligible to increase their respective frequency of service from two-times weekly to four-times weekly. CAAC and the other relevant Chinese authorities granted United and Delta the necessary operating permissions for these additional frequencies on August 17, 2020."

Although Xiamen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines are certificated and designated to operate between China and the US, only Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, and Xiamen Airlines ply the Pacific at present.

For their part, following the announcement, Delta has said it will increase its 2x weekly Detroit Metropolitan and Seattle Tacoma Int'l to Shanghai Pudong route to 4x weekly effective August 24. United said it would increase flights between San Francisco, CA and Shanghai Pudong via Seoul Incheon to 4x weekly effective September 4.