Let’s Talk China

By | August 2, 2007

China…land of a thousand aviation opportunities…and a lucrative destination to gain for an airline. The DOT is once again accepting bids for new service to China. We’ve put off talking about these developments…but it is time to review the candidates.

  • American Airlines has applied to operate Chicago to Beijing service. They even have a website, www.flytochinaonaa.com. American already operates from Chicago to Shanghai.
  • Continental Airlines has applied to fly nonstop between Newark and Shanghai, with through service to Cleveland’s Hopkins Airport in 2009. It made its final submission today. Continental currently serves Beijing and Hong Kong from Newark.
  • US Airways has applied to fly from Philadelphia to Beijing. Their bid website can be found here.
  • United has applied to fly from San Francisco to Guangzhou in 2008 and from Los Angeles to Shanghai in 2009. It also wants to add a second flight from Washington Dulles…this time to Shanghai. United won the last China bid with capital to capital service. United makes a compelling case for US-operated West Coast service…which is lacking. It thinks Los Angeles will benefit significantly.
  • MAXjet, in the most unique of the applications, has applied for service from Seattle to Shanghai, with continuing service to Los Angeles in 2009. MAXjet is an all-business airline.
  • Delta applied to service Shanghai from Atlanta, and for Beijing service from same in 2009. Their bid site is www.nextgatewaytochina.com
  • Northwest applied to begin Detroit to Shanghai service and adding Beijing the subsequent year. The bid website is here.

The Department of Transportation will be making its decision soon for the one new route for this year, another for next year, and four in 2009. We predict Delta as the frontrunner…as they offer service from the country’s busiest airport to China. We still think Continental should get access from Newark to China, as we did during the previous bid. After that, there is the United proposals from the West Coast…although United does dominate China service. We wish MAXjet was not the only other carrier proposing it, as we are against all business class service on such a limited route…although we do admire their guts in applying.

Seattle could get China service from the other side, as Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-largest carrier, has applied too fly between Seattle and Beijing using Airbus 330 aircraft, which will be leased until they are replaced with Boeing 787 Dreamliners that Hainan is scheduled to take delivery of beginning in June.