United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest express carrier and package delivery company, celebrated the maiden voyage of its first cargo aircraft directly flying to China at an inaugural ceremony Friday at Ontario International Airport, California.
Starting April 1, UPS will have six weekly flights between the United States and China using Boeing 747 aircraft, directly servicing Beijing and Shanghai. Four weekly flights originate in Ontario and the other two in Newark, New Jersey.
The company's flight to China departs just two months after the United States Department of Transportation awarded the company the highly sought-after rights to operate direct air service from the US to China.
Friday's celebration was held in front of the aircraft, UPS China Express decorated with a red-and-yellow dragon. Speaking at the ceremony, UPS chairman and CEO Jim Kelly said "this first flight is an important event not just for UPS, but for worldwide trade as whole."
"UPS expects continued strong and robust growth in China," Kelly said. "We take a long-term approach to any expansion and believe the opportunity in China is great enough to overcome any business cycle."
Currently UPS serves China through Hong Kong. But the company has been operational in China since 1988 through its agreement with Sinotrans, its partner in China.
According to UPS, direct flight between the two countries will cut the time in transit to just two days for express delivery to and from major commercial centers in China, and only one day for document delivery to Beijing.
UPS estimates the direct China service will represent US$100 million in new revenue in its first year of operation.
(People's Daily 03/31/2001)