China Grounds Ethiopian Flight For The Third Time Over COVID

Chinese authorities have extended the suspension of Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET684 from Addis Ababa to Shanghai Pudong after more arrivals tested positive for COVID-19.

The flight – already suspended for five weeks since October 26, 2020 – will remain grounded for another four weeks from November 30, 2020. This comes after a further 11 passengers tested positive for COVID-19 on October 20, 2020, on arrival at Shanghai Pudong, according to a directive by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) on October 27, 2020. This is the third suspension of the flight by the Chinese regulator over COVID-19 restrictions.

Five passengers on the same flight already tested positive on arrival on October 6, with an additional 10 on the same flight on October 13, said the CAAC. The infected passengers were quarantined upon arrival at Pudong airport. The flight was already suspended for a week from August 31, 2020, after six arrivals had tested positive for COVID-19.

According to CAAC policies, flights are suspended for a week if the number of infectious arrivals reaches five. The suspension lasts for four weeks if 10 passengers test positive. Airlines are allowed to increase their flights to 2x per week if all arrivals on a flight test negative for three weeks in a row. Ethiopian Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

Chinese news reports said more than a dozen flights, including those of Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo), China Eastern Airlines (MU, Shanghai Hongqiao), Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int’l), Juneyao Air (HO, Shanghai Hongqiao), and SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int’l), have been suspended since China introduced the measures in June 2020.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Ethiopian has also postponed the launch of flight ET604 between Addis Ababa and Beijing Capital until January 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, the CAAC has also suspended the following flights for one week from November 2, 2020, after passengers tested positive for COVID-19: Emirates’ service between Dubai Int’l and Guangzhou; China Southern Airlines’ frequencies between Dhaka and Guangzhou, and Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l and Guangzhou.

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