Disclaimer: Written in collaboration with Ashton Bosley
On April 28, the Civil Aviation Administration of China announced new rules regarding international passenger flights, effective May 1, 2021, as follows:
1. If the number of passengers on an airline’s single flight who tested positive for the coronavirus reaches 5, the airline can choose from the following two suspension mechanisms:
(1) Four weeks from the flight’s entry, suspend the flight for two weeks, and cancel the award flight;
(2) Four weeks from the flight’s entry, restrict the flight to operate at a load factor of no more than 40% for four weeks, and cancel the award flight.
2. If the number of passengers on a single flight that tested positive for the coronavirus reaches 10, the CAAC will suspend the for four weeks starting from the fourth week of the flight’s entry and cancel the award flight. If the number of infected passengers by the coronavirus reaches 10 in two consecutive flights, the flight will be suspended for eight weeks starting from the week of entry.
3. If the number of passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus reaches 30, the flight suspension will start immediately that week, and the suspension period will be four weeks.
4. Related requirements and instructions.
(1) If the airline chooses to fly under the load factor and on the same inbound flight, the number of infected passengers reaches 5 cases. The CAAC will suspend the flight for two weeks; if the number of infected passengers is ten, the flight will be immediately suspended for four weeks.
(2) After the airline chooses the load factor operation measure, if the same inbound flight triggers the suspension condition again, the airlines will no longer have the right to select the load factor operation measure within three months from the date of entry flight.
(3) If the same flight triggers the suspension conditions again before the airline implements the load factor operation measures, the same inbound flight begins the suspension conditions again. The CAAC will increment the suspension period. The flight implemented following the steps to control the passenger load factor will not be counted into the suspension period.
(4) If the number of infected passengers by the coronavirus on an airline’s single entry flight reaches five but is less than 10, the Civil Aviation Administration shall notify the airline to choose Article 1 of this notice within 24 hours.
(5) The CAAC will strengthen the monitoring of flights that implement load-control operation measures. If there are over-load-rate operations, the flight will be immediately suspended for two weeks, and cancel the airline’s right to choose a load-control operation measure.
(6) After the flight load factor operation ends, it will operate at a load factor not higher than 75%. The 75% limit does not apply to high-risk flights according to the “Technical Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Transport Airlines’ Epidemics”) until the number of infected passengers remains zero for three consecutive weeks. Once the flight meets this condition, the flight can operate normally and have award flights.