American airliner US Airways was awarded a license to inaugurate its first US-China air service last week, becoming the sixth US carrier to be granted the permit.
The US Department of Transportation announced last Friday that it had granted the Arizona-headquartered US Airways a permit for US-China passenger flights.
Six American airlines already operate China-bound air services - the other five are American, Continental, Northwest, United and Delta Airlines.
The US Department of Transportation time also awarded additional US-China passenger flights to three other US carriers serving the China routes: American Airlines, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines.
US Airways will fly between Philadelphia and Beijing, while American, Continental and Northwest each will use their new rights to add a daily flight to their existing US-China services.
American Airlines will begin a Chicago-Beijing service, while Continental will operate a new flight between Newark/New York and Shanghai, and Northwest will fly between Detroit and Shanghai.
All services must begin on or around March 25, 2009, according to the agreement.
Under an earlier agreement, signed between General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) and US Department of Transportation last July, the number of daily flights between United States and China will double over the next five years.
US airlines, which are eager to tap the fast-growing Chinese aviation market, will have more than doubled the number of passenger flights to China to 23 a day by 2012.
China is the fastest-growing aviation market in the world after passenger traffic hit 160 million in 2006, up 15 percent on the previous year.
CAAC estimates that passenger volumes will maintain double-digit growth up to 2010.
(China Daily January 3, 2008)