(OTTAWA) Beijing and Ottawa are in talks on how to increase flights between China and Canada, following a US deal in June.

Transport Canada says the weekly number of flights between the two countries has dropped significantly, from more than 100 per week in the summer of 2019 to just 10 this season.

The decline stems from China’s strict COVID-19 rules that Beijing eased earlier this year, which included limits on foreign flights, quarantines and frequent testing for visitors.

Aviation analyst Helane Becker says these rules have forced airlines to halt flights and make stopovers in countries like South Korea for crew rotation. No direct flights between China and Canada have been restored since.

Moreover, Beijing has kept Canada out of a deal that makes it easier for Chinese tour groups to travel abroad, citing diplomatic tensions around issues such as foreign interference.

Still, the two countries say they are in talks to increase the number of flights, with Ottawa hinting it could seek a deal similar to the one recently reached with the United States.