The U.S. Department of Transportation has reportedly allowed Chinese airlines to increase their flight services to America in a rare move amid the ongoing geopolitical tensions between the two countries.

The department issued an order Wednesday to allow Chinese carriers to boost their weekly round-trip flights from eight to 12. The updated figure will be equivalent to the number of flights U.S. carriers have to China.

According to the order, the goal of the decision is to ensure "a gradual, broader reopening of the US-China air services market."

The department affirmed it will "continue to assess how and when to further modify its posture towards PRC [People's Republic of China] carrier flights in a manner that offers a competitive operating environment for the air carriers in the US," as per Financial Times.

The development comes in view of a push by Beijing to increase the flight number to boost tourism and strengthen foreign investment in the aftermath of the fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, three U.S. carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines operate passenger flights between the two countries. Chinese operators Xiamen Airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines carry out flight services to the U.S.

More than 150 round-trip flights were operating from each side before pandemic lockdowns were imposed initially in 2020, according to CNN. However, the number drastically reduced during COVID-19 restrictions and tensions between the two superpowers.

It was previously reported that the U.S. offered to allow Chinese airlines to operate the same number of weekly flights between both nations as American carriers, only if they accept not to fly over Russia.

Washington and Beijing have been at loggerheads after Moscow banned U.S. airlines among other foreign flights from flying over Russia, while allowing Chinese carriers to operate their services over its airspace. Russia's ban on many airlines forced flight carriers to reroute their service, making the trip relatively longer and more expensive. The Biden administration had also prohibited Russian planes from entering U.S. airspace as part of the global efforts to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Recently, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at Washington's willingness to stabilize relations with China. He expressed hopes to reschedule a visit to China this year after his planned trip in February was postponed over a suspected Chinese spy balloon found flying over the American sky.

"We're in a competition with China; There's no secret about that. But we have a strong interest in trying to make sure that that competition doesn't veer into conflict," Blinken said, as per reports. "We need to have a floor under this relationship. We need to have some guardrails on it. And the way to do that is through engagement."

Meanwhile, a number of U.S. carriers lobbied against allowing more Chinese flights to operate in America. Robert Isom, chief executive of American Airlines, said there could not be an "unlevel playing field," noting that American airline companies have to invest more time and fuel to fly around Russia.

"We have to have the ability to fly the same lengths and not burn more fuel and add time on," he told CNBC in January.

American Airlines plans to restart flights on the 737 MAX are dependent on the Federal Aviation Administration's recertification of the airline
American Airlines plans to restart flights on the 737 MAX are dependent on the Federal Aviation Administration's recertification of the airline AFP / Jason Redmond