Why are airlines wary of resuming flights to China?

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Why are airlines wary of resuming flights to China?

The easing of restrictions in China related to COVID-19 caused an immediate reaction from regional carriers: China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Cathay Pacific increased the number of their flights in country and from it. Etihad also announced the resumption of flights to Shanghai. But the other “invited” airlines have so far avoided the mainland and are only restoring flights to Hong Kong.

Australian Qantasis in no hurry to return to China after suspending daily service between Sydney and Shanghai in February 2020 despite announcement spokesman that “we welcome the news that China is opening its border.” Interestingly, Qantas' tentative schedule is one year in advance and does not include flights to Shanghai.

However, Qantas has an alliance with one of the Big Three Chinese airlines based in Shanghai — China Eastern and Guangzhou-based China Southern are being considered as a potential member of Oneworld, making it a de facto partner for Qantas. Perhaps, for commercial reasons, before the restoration of passenger traffic, it is more profitable to use the fleet of Chinese carriers on the lines.

But Qantas has already announced the resumption of flights to Hong Kong. The first flight is scheduled for the end of January.

Cathay Pacific is also not averse to increasing the number of flights between Hong Kong and China, but again, as soon as travel resumes.

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