CAAC halts two more flights of foreign airlines over imported COVID-19 cases

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/15 19:13:40

This photo shows part of the inside of the main terminal of the new Beijing airport under construction in the city's Daxing district on Friday. The Civil Aviation Administration of China officially named Beijing's new airport Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is expected to begin operations by September 30, 2019. Photo: IC

China's civil aviation regulator said on Wednesday that it will halt two foreign carriers' flights for a week, after their flight passengers were tested positive for COVID-19.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it will suspend Thai Lion Air flights for one week, after flight SL117 from Bangkok to Guangzhou on July 7 found six passengers on the flight had tested positive. 

The same decision affected Thai AirAsia, whose flight XJ808 on July 10 from Bangkok to Tianjin had five passengers who were tested positive. The suspension will start from July 20. 

These were the second batch of suspensions for foreign carriers, and the fifth suspensions for all carriers, whether domestic or foreign.

The first suspension order was on June 14, when the CAAC announced it would suspend China Southern Airlines flight CZ392 from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Guangzhou, for four weeks after 17 passengers tested positive for COVID-19. 

The CAAC, along with government departments including the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unveiled in early June incentives and penalties known as "circuit breakers" for carriers based on the results of passengers' nucleic acid tests. 

If more than five passengers on board test positive for COVID-19, a carrier will be suspended for one week. The suspension is for four weeks if 10 passengers test positive. 

Airlines on the same route can fly a maximum of two flights per week if they report zero positive test results for inbound passengers for three consecutive weeks.

The CAAC on Tuesday approved the first batch of international flights in accordance with its reward and penalty mechanism designed to contain imported COVID-19 cases.

China Eastern Airlines flight MU2573/4 connecting Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Vientiane, Laos was allowed to double capacity to two flights per week, effective Tuesday, until the end of the flight quarter on October 24.

The carrier was also granted permission to operate flight MU593/4 linking Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province and Tokyo once a week.

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