In the beginning of Jun.6th, FAA cancels the travel restrictions between Chinese and American route, as a response of CAAC’s announcement of “5*1” policy relaxation. According to that, more airlines can fly to and from China. The “fusing” policy, as discussed in previous report (http://www.martinview.cn/?p=403), aims to decrease the incoming confirmed cases. For the game in air route policy, FAA and CAAC are still bargaining and far from an end.
1. FAA wants CAAC open “5*1” in the name of “equality”, to protect the rights of airlines in America.
2. CAAC foresee this act and states clearly in Jun.4th report.
3. For the “fusing” policy, FAA hasn’t response clearly. The “fusing” policy is one stone with two birds: gives Chinese people more chance to back while accomplish the goal of less imported cases. But when implementing, some barriers occur and make it harder to accomplish the restrictions fully.
1. Equality in air route?
In the new announcement by FAA, Chinese carriers are allowed to have 2 routes per week. As CAAC’s “5*1” has claimed, four carriers can operate totally 4 routes from China to America. As FAA wants to keep the total number equal, hence Delta and United should have two routes in CAAC’s situation. FAA considers CAAC “hinders American fully implemented ‘Sino-American Air Service Agreement’”, thus puts another restriction to the numbers of air route viable weekly.
As an imminent response to CAAC’s update (only two days after), FAA wants to “keep market open”. American carrier wants to “fully implement” air routes to pre-Pandemic level. For sure, CAAC won’t invalidate the “5*1” and fuse restrictions, but FAA’s message can’t be clearer.
2. CAAC foresees, get the highland in consensus
In Jun.4th report, CAAC has talked about that and can “response” FAA’s demand. On the macro level, CAAC get the high land in consensus by amplifying the “open” attitude. In the Sixth rule, airline’s re-open plan should be confirmed by local government or bureau of Pandemic control. By regulation, the “open attitude” shows CAAC’s equality treatment to each airline, but with some other restrictions, Chinese government still have the full judging power for confirming new flights.
3. High in theory, uncertain in implement
FAA dodges “fuse” rules in this report. As the current regulation goes, the bonus by fusing can’t be implemented. While fusing is a good plan, when executing, some barriers occurs.
In airlines’ aspects, if they want to dodge the fuse for weeks, some action must be taken to control the confirmed case (by PCR test result according to Chinese regulation) is lower than 5. As the level is number not proportion, airlines might use smaller plane first for extra flights in future, but that will let the current seats become even less. More than that, as some “no-symptom” infector is observed in COVID-19, conventional temperature testing can’t make sure no confirmed cases.
A possible way for airlines is to demand the PCR test result and let it be the “passport” for boarding, as Chinese uses the PCR as the scope for “fusing”. But the capacity for such a test is limited, mostly in hospital. When the Pandemic is on wide spread in foreign countries, going to hospital will doubtlessly increase the risk of infection. Such an action by airlines will nominally decrease the possibility of being “fused”, but when doing, there is more risk.
If the route fused, a huge disaster occurs both for travelers and for airlines. For travelers, they can’t on board the booked flight. If airlines choose to postpone all tickets to next available flight, then the chain reaction will hurt more travelers. If some travelers are having transfer flights with a cancelation on second route, they will be forced to stay inside the airport with no place to go. As airport is a place with high risk of virus spreading, the long stay may not be a good choice. For airlines, no matter which situation happens, some public crisis and economics loss will be burdened.
Again, theoretically speaking, the “fusing” is an audacious innovation that attempts to solve two problems the same time. While time is needed to test it out, the effectiveness of that is still uncertain.