July 13, 2020 / 2:22 PM / a month ago

France reduces Chinese flights to Paris in tit-for-tat row

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s government on Monday started restricting Chinese airlines to one passenger flight to France per week, saying it was acting in response to restrictions imposed by Beijing on French carriers flying to China.

“From July 13, Chinese companies will only be authorised to make one weekly trip,” the French embassy in Beijing said on its website. “Discussions are underway between the two governments with a view to reaching a satisfactory solution.”

China’s state aviation regulator, CAAC, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The French embassy said that three Chinese carriers, Air China, China Eastern Airlines Corp, and China Southern Airlines Co, were each authorised to make weekly flights from Chinese cities to Paris.

It said that, under a June 12 reciprocal arrangement, Air France had been authorised by Beijing to carry out three flights a week to China.

But the embassy said that, in practice, Chinese authorities had only allowed one Air France flight per week to go ahead.

It said France was applying intense diplomatic pressure to get the go-ahead from Beijing for the extra flights. In the meantime, it advised travellers to be prepared for disruption to air links between the two countries.

Passenger flights between France and China were suspended earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting by Christian Lowe in Paris and Stella Qiu in Beijing, editing by Ed Osmond

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