The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a suspension order for all scheduled passenger flights of Chinese carriers to and from the country.

Effective as of 16 June, the suspension is in response to the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s violation of Air Transport Agreement.

China did not allow US carriers to fully exercise their bilateral rights to fly passenger air service to the country, according to the DOT.

The department also noted that the US carriers have also sought the Chinese Government’s approval to restart passenger flights starting from 1 June.

As of now, four Chinese carriers and no US carriers operate scheduled passenger flights between the two countries.

The order may become effective earlier than the said date depending on approval from US President.

In a statement, DOT said: “The department will continue to engage our Chinese counterparts so both US and Chinese carriers can fully exercise their bilateral rights.

“In the meantime, we will allow Chinese carriers to operate the same number of scheduled passenger flights as the Chinese Government allows ours.”

The DOT added that it can ‘amend, modify, or revoke this order any time and without hearing’.

Three major US airlines, namely Delta, American Airlines and United, all issued notices to temporarily suspend all flights to China as Covid-19 continues to spread at the beginning of February.

Last month, the DOT issued two notices related to airline service obligations and consumer protections.