US airlines are asking the Biden administration to stop approving more flights to and from China. They say that China's rules are not fair and hurt American workers. This request was made in a letter on Thursday to US leaders, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

US Airlines Appeal to Biden Administration for Fair Treatment in China Flights
US Airlines urge Biden Administration to halt China flights
(Photo : Jan Rosolino on Unsplash)

US Airlines Challenge Unfair Competition in China Flight Agreements

The letter is from Airlines for America, a group that represents big airlines like American Airlines, Delta, and United. Other aviation worker unions have also signed it. They claim that Chinese policies are making it hard for US airlines to compete. 

This is a problem for about 315,000 workers in the US who have jobs related to these flights.

CNN reported that the letter says that if the US keeps allowing China to increase its flights here without making sure things are fair, US airlines will lose more flights to Chinese companies. This will hurt US workers and businesses. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, China made it very tough for US airlines to operate there. They also had strict rules that affected passengers and the treatment of US airline crews.

Adding to the troubles, in 2022, China's airlines could still fly over Russia, but US airlines could not because of the war in Ukraine. This made flights longer and more expensive for US carriers.

China's Foreign Ministry mentioned that increasing flights was agreed upon during a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden last November in San Francisco. They believe more flights will help people from both countries connect better and understand each other more.

US airlines want the US government to create rules that protect American aviation workers and the industry from these unfair practices.

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Request Extension on Flight Requirements Due to Staff Shortages

Major US airlines are asking the government to continue easing flight requirements at busy airports in New York City until October 2025. The airlines are facing problems because there are not enough air traffic controllers. 

Airlines for America, representing carriers like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, sent this request in a letter.

Currently, airlines must use their assigned airport slots 80% of the time or risk losing them. However, a special waiver has allowed airlines to keep their slots even if they do not meet this requirement. This waiver is in place until October 2024, but airlines want to extend it due to ongoing staffing issues.

As per Reuters, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has plans to improve the situation by moving the control of Newark, New Jersey's airspace to Philadelphia. This move is to help manage the heavy traffic better. 

Despite these efforts, Airlines for America has noted that the staffing at New York's air traffic control is still not enough. They reported a shortage of 93 controllers from their target at one major facility.

The FAA has not yet responded to the airlines' request. Meanwhile, air traffic controllers are working extra hours to manage the flights, showing the urgency of the staffing shortage.

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