An Air China aircraft landing in New York City in January 2020. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Chinese passenger airlines will be banned from flying to the United States starting June 16.

Why it matters: Heated tensions between Washington and Beijing are now beginning to impact the airline industry, as the DOT has accused the Chinese government of preventing U.S. airlines from resuming flights to China after suspending them earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Background: The DOT alleges the Chinese government is violating the the U.S.-China Civil Air Transport Agreement, which solidified aviation relations in 1980.

  • It claims that the "Chinese aviation authorities have failed to permit U.S. air carriers to exercise fully their bilateral rights with respect to the provision of scheduled passenger services between the United States and China."
  • U.S. airliners Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have been pushing the Chinese government to restart U.S.-China routes in June and have submitted applications to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to do so, per CNN.
  • In January 2020, many airlines around the world suspended some or all of their China flights because of fears of spreading the coronavirus.

Read the DOT's order.

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