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China reopens to international flights: "Every airline chooses a city of entry"

The concept of qualified country introduced to which will go particular concessions

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has decided to reopen to international flights while specifying the criteria for accepting international passengers and allowing foreign carriers to reactivate connections to China on a regular weekly basis starting from today on June 8.

An on-line release by CAAC confirms that foreign aircraft operators "unable to operate flights to China in recent months due to the pandemic can choose a qualified Chinese city for entry, starting from June 8". Airlines -AVIONEWS reports it- can present their pre-flight plans to CAAC for the period up to October 24, 2020.

To limit the risks of imported Covid-19 cases, China had decided to reduce the number of international passenger flights in March, allowing each foreign airline to operate a single incoming route with no more than one flight per week. Starting today on Monday June 8, CAAC also introduces a " reward and suspension" mechanism, with detailed measures for carriers to increase or suspend flights.

If all passengers on a flight are tested negative for the presence of the new coronavirus for three consecutive weeks, the operating company may increase the number of flights to two per week. If the number of positive test passengers reaches five, the airline's flights will be suspended for a week. The suspension, CAAC said it, will last four weeks if the number of positive test passengers reaches 10 people. "The adjustment to resume some international passenger flights -CAAC specified it- aims to balance outbreak control and economic and social development". According to the Chinese agency, these measures also respond to the "pressing needs of Chinese students studying abroad and Chinese born abroad who want to return home".

The estimates lead to predict that after the present adjustment the number of international passenger flights could increase to no more than 64 per week, with an estimated 33,000 people who will be able to enter the country in flight every week. The aviation authority also indicated -AVIONEWS reports it- that China could "modestly" increase flights from some qualified countries in conditions of controllable risk and adequate reception capacity. The so-called qualified countries include those that “have so far exported few cases of Covid-19 to China, while maintaining close economic and commercial ties to the State, as well as those that meet the requirements of prevention and remote control to effectively reduce the risk of imported cases".

According to CAAC, those Countries in which there are "a large number of Chinese citizens with a strong demand for repatriation", as well as States that have established "fast track" procedures with China to meet needs, also respond to the denomination of qualified workers to resume work and production. The rules come into force today and what CAAC means for large numbers of Chinese citizens and for a few cases of exported Covid does not appear defined yet -AVIONEWS writes it- and, at this point in the absence of indications from Italian Foreign Ministry the question arises spontaneously: will Italy, which has hosted a large, well-integrated Chinese community for years, be among the qualified countries?

Can Alitalia operate within the limits indicated?

See for details AVIONEWS.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency