The number of flights between the US and China is set to double after the US government announced it had approved an increase in air connectivity between the two countries.
The US Transportation Department (USDOT) said the number of Chinese passenger flights would rise from 12 a week to 18 a week by the beginning of September and to 24 per week starting from the end of October.
Authorities in Beijing are expected to agree to the same increase for US airlines.
USDOT said: “Our overriding goal is an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties are able to exercise fully their bilateral rights to maintain a competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among US and Chinese air carriers.”
The announcement comes as China continues to recover from the Covid pandemic, with an increase in domestic and international flights.
AirAsia is boosting flights between Malaysia and China as the airline reports a significant rebound in demand for travel in the coming months.
The low-cost carrier said the load factor for both AirAsia Malaysia (AK) and AirAsia X Malaysia (D7) flights to and from China had reached around 80% in July.
Strong-performing routes include Kuala Lumpur-Shanghai, Kota Kinabalu-Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur-Nanning and Kota Kinabalu-Wuhan, AirAsia said.
China and Malaysia
Across both airlines, more than 320,000 seats have been sold between China and Malaysia since March to early July this year.
That is around a third compared to the same period pre-Covid in 2019. About 75% of the seats sold are from Chinese nationals, a signal that Malaysia continues to be one of the preferred destinations for tourists from China.