Chinese and US airlines should cooperate actively for global competition, said Graham Atkinson, senior vice president of the United Airlines (UA).
He said in Beijing at the ongoing China-US Aviation Symposium that China will be the fastest growing aviation market in the world in the next few years. In big nations such as China and the United States, airline companies should own a strong domestic network to support the international network. Scale and efficiency are two important factors for airlines, for which alliances will be a good solution.
He said the Chinese government can help airline companies to develop and increase competition by adding code-sharing flights, which can provide wider service to more destinations, and provide seamless transfer service for passengers, as well as connect small cities to major commercial centers.
UA has already established a market alliance with Air China. Code-sharing will promote wider alliances among main airline companies. Star Alliance, which was jointly set up by UA and Lufthansa, now includes 15 international airlines and offers flights to 680 destinations in 127 nations, which is far beyond the ability of UA itself. Star Alliance welcomes Air China, he added.
Atkinson hoped for traffic rights negotiation between the two nations, and that both governments would encourage airline companies to provide service from American cities to Chinese cities. The new air service to new destinations will help increase foreign investment, create job opportunities and stimulate the regional economy.
UA is the only airline company that operates daily non-stop flights from Beijing and Shanghai to the US. It will launch flights from Beijing to San Francisco from June. Its office in Guangzhou will be open by the end of this month.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2004)