China seeks swift restoration of air links with Russia

Beijing is interested in restarting regular flights between China and Russia as soon as possible, and is ready to advance this process through teamwork with the Russian side, a statement by the press service of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

“China expects that the global epidemic situation will normalize shortly, so that in strict compliance with the requirements of epidemic control we could join forces with Russia to gradually restart regular contacts between the nationals of our countries,” said the statement made available to TASS.

“Certain Russian companies that have a license and meet the demands [of the Chinese side] to counteract the coronavirus, can already now choose one of the airports in the People’s Republic of China,” it said.

The ministry specified that for the time being, carriers will be operating only one flight a week along one route from a list of the Chinese cities officially opened for international flights.

“We maintain close contacts with the Russian Foreign Ministry on the issues of ensuring necessary conditions and mutual support,” the statement said. According to the press service, Russian representatives planning to visit China for a business trip or under a program of scientific and urgent humanitarian exchanges may submit visa applications to the Chinese embassy or consulates. “The Chinese side will be gradually restoring interpersonal contacts with other countries,” the statement emphasized.

Last week, China’s Civil Aviation Administration reported that starting June 8, foreign carriers would be able to choose one of the Chinese airports for future regular flights. Under the document, this refers to the companies that were not listed earlier among the carriers operating flights under the March 12 rule – one carrier from each country had the right to apply for one flight a week to China to one destination.

The Russian carriers that have received the opportunity to submit an application must guarantee strict measures of epidemic control. In case the number of passengers infected with coronavirus on board their planes arriving in China exceeds five, they will be stripped of the right to operate flights for a week. If ten passengers get infected, they will have to pause for four weeks. According to the approved list of the cities published on the website of the Civil Aviation Administration, flights can be carried out to 37 major destinations, including Beijing, Wuhan, Harbin, Shanghai and some other cities.

According to the latest statistics, over 7,477,900 people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide and more than 419,300 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 3,792,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.