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US airlines to delay Beijing flight over oil price hike
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US Airways Group Inc. planned to ask for a postponement for launching its new service to Beijing for one year due to soaring oil prices, local press reported Thursday.

In letters to members of Congress and its employees, the company said it would seek to delay the launch of the new Philadelphia-Beijing route, given the cost for fuel would be more than 90 million US dollars per year, 40 million dollars more than previously estimated.

"We're optimistic that economic conditions will be on the upswing in 2010, giving us a better chance of success with our first route to China," Scott Kirby, president of the Phoenix-based company, said in a letter to employees.

Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said in a statement that the China route is a priority for the Philadelphia region and that the delay was another example of how high fuel prices are hurting the economy.

US Airways Group got the go-ahead from the US Department of Transportation in September 2007 to launch the new service, which is scheduled to go into operation in 2009.

Another three flights linking US and Chinese cities also got federal approval to launch new services to China in 2009, including American Airlines' Chicago-Beijing, Continental Airlines' Newark-Shanghai and Northwest Airlines' Detroit-Shanghai.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2008)

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