Denies American's Request To Add Chicago Stopover
ANN REALTIME REPORTING
01.09.07 1300 EST: The US Department of
Transportation (DOT) has spoken. On Tuesday, the agency proposed to
award United Airlines the right to operate a new daily flight
between the United States and China, allowing the airline to
inaugurate new non-stop service between Washington Dulles
International Airport and Beijing's China Peking Capital Airport
beginning March 25 if the tentative decision becomes final.
The Department assessed the bids from four airlines for the
chance to operate seven weekly flights between the two countries
based on criteria such as which applicant would serve the most
customers and provide the best service to the traveling public.
"It's not every day we get the opportunity to make flying more
convenient, support airlines and boost the economy by proposing to
make it easier to fly between the world's two most dynamic
economies," said US Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters. "As
difficult as the final choice will be, ultimately the goal is to do
everything in our power to expand service, destinations and
frequencies between the United States and China."
In its tentative decision, the Department found that United's
Washington-Beijing proposal had the potential to benefit the
greatest number of passengers. More people travel to China from the
Washington metro area than from any other US city that currently
does not have nonstop US-China service, the Department said. In
addition, the tentative decision noted that United's service would
provide the greatest capacity, offering over 253,000 seats annually
in the US-China market.
Interested parties have 14 days to file objections showing why
today's tentative decision should not be made final. If objections
are filed, answers to objections are due seven days afterward. The
Department then will review comments and issue a final
Also applying for the daily
service were American Airlines, which sought to fly between
Dallas/Fort Worth and Beijing; Continental Airlines, which applied
for service between Newark, NJ and Shanghai; and Northwest
Airlines, which applied for Detroit-Shanghai service.
As Aero-News reported, near
the end of the selection process American sought to change its
proposal to add a stop in Chicago before continuing to Beijing. On
Tueday, the DOT denied American's motion, noting that any amendment
this late in the proceeding would significantly delay the start of
new service, while allowing American to withdraw its application as
"We are naturally disappointed that American Airlines did not
win the route, and we still believe their application is strong,"
said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW International Airport. "Trade between
China and North Texas continues to grow and this region needs this
service in the future. We will continue to work with American to
explore new international routes from DFW and hope to play an
instrumental role in the upcoming bilateral talks between the US
The Department evaluates US air carrier proposals for new
service between the two countries as part of a US-China aviation
agreement signed in July 2004 that called for a total of 195 new
weekly flights phased in over a six-year period.