Beijing has denounced Paris’ decision to limit flights from China operated by Chinese airlines to France to only one per week, calling the move “incomprehensible.”
“The unilateral decision of the French side to reduce flights is damaging for Chinese airlines and the populations of both countries. We deeply regret this decision by the French side … it is incomprehensible that the French side decides to impose the reduction on flights by Chinese airlines,” Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France said in an official statement published on the embassy website on Tuesday.
The ambassador’s comments came a day after France started to limit the number of flights from China allowed into the country, a decision the French Embassy in Beijing on Monday said it was in the process of discussing with China.
“Air traffic between France and China is currently experiencing disruptions due to the imbalance in services between French and Chinese airlines,” the French Embassy said in a statement, adding: “Discussions are underway between both governments, aimed at reaching a solution satisfactory to both parties.”
According to Les Echos, however, the “imbalances” mentioned by the embassy are a consequence of Beijing dragging its feet on allowing increased flight frequencies for Air France to China despite an improving epidemiological situation in both countries, prompting Paris to retaliate swiftly.
Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye was unimpressed.
“From 9 February, Air France suspended its flights to China, citing ‘the exercise of the right of withdrawal by its employees’. The Chinese side showed understanding in this respect,” Lu said, adding that China then continued to support a French air bridge to transport medical supplies, “exceptionally authorizing hundreds of French cargo charter flights.”
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