Direct flights between China, France cut again

Source: Global Times

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport Photo: VCG

Direct flights between China and France have been cut after the French authorities said that two flights by Chinese carriers scheduled to depart in the coming days were cancelled.

Flight MU570 of Chinese Eastern Airlines, originally scheduled to fly from Paris to Shanghai on Sunday, and flight CZ348 of China Southern Airlines departing from Paris to fly to Guangzhou on March 4, were canceled by France’s aviation authority, according to the Chinese Embassy in France on Wednesday.

It was the fourth canceled flight for Chinese carriers since February 17, when France’s aviation authority canceled CA934 of Air China departing from Paris to Tianjin, followed by a second cancellation of the same flight one week later.

So far, all three carriers serving routes from China to France have had flights canceled.

Data from information provider VariFlight showed that there were six scheduled passenger flights between China and France each week since February 1. Air France, the only carrier flying to China, has six passenger flights to China each week, and the six flights by Chinese carriers are run by Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern.

An anonymous insider at China Eastern told the Global Times that “they were informed” to cancel the flight and had to do so. They are busy calling passengers about the cancellation.

Market watchers said such behavior by France is the testimony of the equal treatment principle raised by the French side, and it was not the first time for the French authorities to make such a decision.

In July last year, France’s aviation authority said it that would reduce passenger flights from China from three flights per week to only one, citing a move to “address the imbalance of airline services” between the two countries.

Flight AF198 of Air France was canceled for two weeks from February 15, after seven positive COVID19 cases were found among its passengers. The affected flight in this case arrived in Shanghai on January 26, the Chinese civil aviation regulator said.

Chinese aviation authorities said in December last year, any flight to China will be halted for two weeks if there are five or more cases of positive COVID-19 tests on board.

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