Condor Faces 2 Week Xi’an Flight Ban Following COVID-19 Cases

German airline Condor has received a flight ban from China’s civil aviation regulator after passengers onboard a Condor flight to China tested positive for COVID-19. Nine passengers onboard Condor flight DE8442 from Frankfurt to Xi’an on June 27th tested positive for the virus. Condor will be banned from the route for two weeks, starting from July 12th.

Condor will be banned from its Frankfurt – Xi’an route for two weeks after several passengers tested positive for COVID-19. Photo: Thomas Boon – Simple Flying

Nine passengers test positive for COVID-19

A Condor flight from Frankfurt to Xi’an saw nine passengers test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in China. Flight DE8442 departed from Frankfurt at 22:36 CEST on June 26th and touched down in Xi’an at 14:57 CST the next day.

Flight DE8442 from Frankfurt to Xi’an on June 26th/27th. Flight data: RadarBox.com

As a result of the positive COVID tests, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has handed Condor a two-week ban on the route. The ban will come into force on July 12th and last until July 26th. Additionally, the CAAC has said that Condor may not ‘transfer the original quota of flight DE8442 to other routes.’

As nine passengers tested positive, Condor will receive a mandatory two-week ban from the route. Fortuitously for Condor, had one more positive case pushed the total number of cases up to 10, the airline would have been hit with a four-week ban per China’s route suspension rules.

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Condor’s Frankfurt-Xi’an connection

German airline Condor has only been flying from Frankfurt to Xi’an fairly recently after launching the route in December 2020. Condor has entered into a partnership with Chinese carrier China Eastern and offers connections to other Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Condor 767-300
Condor’s Frankfurt – Xi’an route was launched in December last year. Photo: Condor

In a statement from December, the airline said,

“Going forward, Condor will serve the 13-million-metropolis every Saturday. Condor is thus not only launching regular passenger flights to China, but is also the only airline to directly connect the metropolis of Xian with Frankfurt.”

Flight data from RadarBox.com shows the airline has operated approximately four to five flights a month on the route, but there have been noticeable gaps in the schedule. For example, Condor flew to Xi’an just once in March and only twice in April, before reverting back to its every Saturday schedule in May.

What are China’s route suspension rules?

China has applied blanket route suspensions in the event of positive COVID cases since the CAAC introduced new rules in June 2020.

The rules are as follows:

  • A mandatory one-week suspension for flights with one to four positive cases.
  • This suspension increases to two weeks should positive cases reach five.
  • A suspension of four weeks in the event of 10 or more cases.
Condor A320
Condor is one of several airlines to be handed bans by the CAAC over the past year. Photo: Condor

The ban applies to the route in question only. Plenty of airlines have been hit with route suspensions by the CAAC, including Air France (two weeks from Paris to Shanghai) and China Eastern (four weeks from New York to Shanghai) in the last few months.

Do you think China’s route bans are helpful? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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