United Airlines has plans to start new flight services between
California and two Chinese cities in next two years to exploit the
booming US-China route, but the airline is facing stiff competition
from other US carriers.
In an application submitted last month to the US Department of
Transportation, United said it planned daily nonstop flights
between Los Angeles and Shanghai beginning in 2009, and between San
Francisco and Guangzhou in 2008.
Supported by city officials, business leaders and California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the planned new services are
expected to bring thousands of jobs, boost tourism and generate
millions of dollars a year for local economy.
Chinese airlines currently offer three nonstop flights to China
from Los Angeles, and US airlines operate seven non-stop flights
from other cities to China. If approved, United would become the
first US carrier to offer a direct flight to any city in China from
With burgeoning demand for travel between the United States and
China, even carriers with connecting flights are often crowded
these days, and travelers are eager to have more options on the
route, said a Los Angeles Times report Tuesday.
But Chicago-based United Airlines faces stiff competition from
other major US carriers who have proposed different city routes as
they battle for a limited number of rights to fly between the
United States and China.
Los Angeles is being pitted against cities such as Philadelphia,
Chicago and Atlanta in what has become one of the more heated
lobbying efforts in Washington, according to the report.
A US-China route can bring to an American carrier about 200
million dollars a year, while the number of US passengers flying to
China has been growing 10 percent annually for the last several
years, twice the growth rate of any other transpacific traffic.
Under a US-China pact reached in May, US carriers will be
allowed to operate six new nonstop flights to China over the next
three years, and the Department of Transportation will decide which
routes to dole out this fall.
The last US carrier to win a route to China was United Airlines
when it began daily nonstop service in March between Beijing and
Washington. The carrier already operates a direct
California-to-China route, from San Francisco to Shanghai.
Delta Air Lines, which wants to offer a direct flight from
Atlanta to Beijing, has argued to federal officials that giving
United another nonstop flight to China would weaken competition.
Delta is one of the only two major US airlines that currently
operate no fights to China.
(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)