Last Friday, Mr. Trump also said that he would end some aspects of the American government’s special relationship with Hong Kong, which is exempt from the new aviation order, and that his administration would place sanctions on officials responsible for Beijing’s rollback of liberties in the territory.
“The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations,” the president said at the time. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government.”
Chinese officials have tried to walk a narrow line between maintaining the country’s own tough stance on the Trump administration and preserving its economic relationship with the United States. The Chinese government has threatened to respond with its own measures, including placing U.S. companies on an “unreliable entity list” that could restrict their activities in China.
As ground zero of the pandemic, China was the first country to see aviation grind to a halt this year. In January, American and Chinese carriers operated about 325 weekly flights between the two countries, according to the Transportation Department. By mid-Feburary, only 20 remained, all of them run by Chinese airlines.
In March, that slowdown spread worldwide, bringing air travel to a screeching halt and devastating the global aviation industry. By April, demand for flights worldwide had fallen by more than 94 percent, compared with a year ago, according to the International Air Transport Association.
But there have been signs in recent weeks that demand is recovering. The number of daily flights rose from late April to late May, countries are beginning to lift travel bans and business confidence is slowly recovering in key markets, including China, the United States and Germany, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s chief executive, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The initial green shoots will take time — possibly years — to mature,” he said.
To accelerate that recovery, airlines are taking a wide range of measures aimed at addressing health concerns, including requiring masks for passengers and employees, leaving some seats empty, conducting temperature screenings and even, in some cases, drawing blood to test for the coronavirus.