Chinese Airlines Resuming Flights to US is a Hopeful Sign of Good to Come

If it isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel for the U.S. and the coronavirus, then at least a small, good sign for the future perhaps?

Public health experts say not to get too giddy, but China reported no new domestic cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the first time since the outbreak of the global pandemic began there in mid-December. China’s National Health Commission reported that the 34 new cases in the country were all imported cases, and that none were from the Hubei province where the coronavirus first began.

“I think it is too early to celebrate. It is likely that a second wave has already started in China, but it may be too early to detect it at the moment,” said Ben Cowling, professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health.

Still, it’s a hopeful sign – as is the fact that Chinese domestic are resuming flights.

According to sfgate.com, the sister site of the San Francisco Chronicle, three Chinese carriers plan to resume non-stop flights to San Francisco International Airport this month

China Eastern will resume a daily non-stop flight this month between its hub in Shanghai and San Francisco using a Boeing 777-300ER jet. Flights are expected to start on Saturday, March 28

Air China plans to resume non-stop flights between Beijing and San Francisco this Saturday with flights operating on a limited schedule, and on sporadic days throughout the week.

China Southern intends to resume its non-stop flight from Guangzhou to San Francisco on March 29. It will operate four times a week, on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets.

Aviation experts do not expect these flights to be full, hence the high price tags for tickets, but they represent a return to business between the U.S. and China. That is particularly true since U.S. airlines Delta, American and United all suspended their flights to China.

Foreign nationals who have been in mainland China for the last 14 days are banned from entering the United States, but U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to return back home provided they self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

As sfgate.com pointed out, all three airlines are majority owned by the Chinese government so operating these flights at near-empty loads and at a financial loss should not be much of a concern for each carrier.

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