Asia Minute: China Increasing International Flights: Charters Only

May 28, 2020

The gradual process of re-opening is continuing across the state and in differing degrees around the world. Some countries are starting to look at possible ways to allow certain visitors, with careful controls — and that includes China.

China is expanding a program opening several locations for foreign visitors, with tight restrictions. The travelers can only come from certain countries on chartered flights approved only to specific cities.

That’s according to Chinese state media, which reported on Wednesday that China’s Civil Aviation Administration will soon grow a program running those flights in what it’s calling “green channels.”

South Korea had the first charter flight earlier this month — allowing business travelers to work at Samsung subsidiaries in 10 regions around China. The experience included COVID-19 tests before leaving and after arriving — as well as a modified quarantine plan.

The next round of potential charter flights will include the Asian countries of Singapore and Japan as well as several Western European nations: Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Britain. In fact, Agence France Press reports a German charter flight carrying business people is heading from Frankfurt to Tianjin tomorrow. 

Right now, airlines are limited to one international flight a week, but authorities will nearly triple that number starting next Monday to more than 400.

That’s still a sharp decline from the pre-COVID pace of roughly 9,000 international flights a week.