China suspends two Thailand flights over COVID-19 cases

The first flight of the Xi'an-Istanbul direct air route arrives at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dec. 30, 2019. Three round trips operated by Turkish Airlines are expected to be made between Xi'an and Istanbul, with inbound flights on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and outbound ones on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. (Xinhua/Shao Rui)

China’s civil aviation regulator has announced that a Thai Lion Air’s Bangkok-Guangzhou flight, as well as a Thai AirAsia X’s Bangkok-Tianjin flight, would be suspended after several passengers tested positive for COVID-19 on recent flights.

Six passengers tested positive on Thai Lion Air’s SL117 flight on July 7, while there were five positive cases on Thai AirAsia X’s XJ808 flight on July 10, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the website of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The decision was made Tuesday.The suspension of the two flights will last for one week, starting July 20, and is the second of its kind ever imposed on overseas airlines.

On July 6, the CAAC announced the suspension of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to Guangzhou.

To further contain the spread of COVID-19, a reward and suspension mechanism was introduced by the CAAC on June 4.According to the CAAC policy, if all inbound passengers on an airline test negative for novel coronavirus for three weeks in a row, the operating airline will be allowed to increase its number of flights to two per week.If the number of passengers testing positive reaches five, the airline’s flights will be suspended for a week.

The suspension will last for four weeks if the number of passengers testing positive reaches 10.The CAAC also said that Thai Lion Air and Thai AirAsia X are not allowed to transfer the original quota for SL117 and XJ808 to other routes.

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