US ready to sanction Chinese airlines over Russian flights – NYT – RT World News
US carriers are losing up to $2 billion a year in market share to competitors who are not forced to avoid Russian airspace
The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering banning the use of Russian airspace by Chinese airlines flying passengers to the United States, three officials from President Joe Biden’s administration told The New York Times on Friday. An order that would impose on Chinese competitors the same restrictions on the use of Russian airspace faced by US airlines was reportedly presented to members of the national security team and others last Monday.
The proposal is the result of lobbying by U.S. air carriers, which have lost up to $2 billion in market share a year to foreign competitors not subject to the U.S. ban on flying over Russian territory, the trade group says. of the Airlines for America industry. A spokeswoman for the group confirmed that it wants the Biden administration “Take steps to ensure that foreign carriers flying over Russia do not depart, land or transit through US airports.”
Airlines such as China Eastern, Emirates and Air India, whose home countries are not involved in the Ukrainian conflict, have experienced a commercial boom because they can take the shortest route from one destination to another. another without having to circumvent the vast Russian territory.
US carriers, on the other hand, have had to operate long-haul flights with dozens of empty seats in hopes of making the plane light enough not to require refueling on the increasingly circuitous routes needed to avoid the no-go zones, air sources told The Times. Even then, an additional stop is often necessary for personnel reasons. Banned from the most direct routes to Asia, US carriers have had to scrap plans to offer direct service to more than a dozen hotspots such as Tokyo, Seoul and Mumbai, abandoning those routes to competitors.
Airlines for America has sought to convince passengers who are reluctant to spend several hundred dollars and overtime in the air that flying over Russia is in fact dangerous, pointing to the downing of MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 and the arrest of American women’s basketball star Brittney Griner at a Moscow airport last year. However, the Dutch team tasked with finding evidence of Russia’s culpability in the MH17 incident suspended its investigation last month, having been unable to produce conclusive evidence, while many “on” countries impose much harsher penalties — up to and including execution by firing squad — on foreigners caught with illegal drugs.
Russia closed its airspace to US airlines last March after Washington imposed its own ban on Russian planes flying over US territory.