On Friday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said that from May 10th and two weeks onwards, it would suspend Air France’s flights from Paris to Shanghai. The ban is in accordance with the country’s ‘circuit breaker’ regulation and follows after six passengers on Flight AF198 tested positive upon arrival on April 20th.
Suspending inbound passengers only
The ban on Air France’s Shangai flights relates to inbound passenger services only. The return flights from Shanghai to Paris will operate as usual. The planes are still allowed to carry cargo on their way to China.
A spokesperson for Air France shared the following statement with Simple Flying,
“Air France confirms that, in accordance with the “Circuit Breaker” notification issued on 30 April 2021 by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), its flights AF 198 (Paris-Shanghai) on 10th and 17th May will operate as cargo flights only.”
The airline said that it would inform customers booked on these flights individually and that passengers may postpone or cancel trips at no extra charge. It further added that the health and well-being of the airline’s customers and staff were at the heart of the company’s concerns.
The return flights AF193 on the 11th and 18th of May will operate as normal with passengers onboard. All other Air France flights to/from China will also operate as scheduled.
— News Asia 24 (@NewsAsia24) January 21, 2021
Other services as ‘normal’
Air France is currently operating three routes between Paris (CDG) and mainland China. Flight AF382 departs Paris for Tianjin on Thursdays at 23:35. Its return, AF393, leaves from Beijing on Saturdays at 02:30 am.
The Shanghai Pudong (PVG) service operates with AF198 departing Paris at 20:25 on Monday. AF193 departs Shanghai at 21:45 on Tuesdays and Fridays. All services between CDG and PVG operate with a stopover at Seoul Incheon in South Korea, where passengers remain on board. Flights are operated by one of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER.
In good company
Air France’s sister carrier, KLM, is also currently placed on a two-week flight ban to a destination in China. The Dutch flag carrier was not allowed to carry any passengers on yesterday’s flight KL831 from Amsterdam to Hangzhou, nor will it be when it operates the service again on May 6th.
The return service, KL832, will operate today, April 30th, as well as on May 7th, according to schedule and with passengers. KLM also flies from Amsterdam to Beijing and Shanghai in mainland China.
Circuit breaker for two or four weeks
China’s ‘circuit breaker’ system means that any airline carrying five or more passengers on the flight who test positive for coronavirus upon arrival will have their inbound passenger route suspended for two weeks. If ten or more people test positive, the ban is increased to one month.
Airlines that have been affected include, but are by no means limited to, Etihad, Egypt Airlines, and Ethiopian Airlines, but also domestic carriers such as China Eastern, which recently saw its New York to Shanghai passenger service suspended for four weeks.