MAY 23, 2007: The U.S Department of Transportation and China´s Civil Aviation Administration today enacted an agreement that will more than double to 23 the number of daily passenger flights between the two countries by 2012.
DOT today said the agreement, effective immediately, allows U.S. carriers to launch 13 new daily flights between the two countries within the next five years-one apiece this year and next, four in 2009, three in 2010 and two apiece in 2011 and 2012. A DOT spokesperson today said the department soon would begin accepting airline applications for a route to launch in August, the first under the new agreement. Meanwhile, the agreement allows for the United States to designate three additional U.S. carriers to operate service to China, one this year and two in 2009.
Several domestic airlines, including Delta and Northwest, were quick to applaud the decision, as U.S. carriers have clamored for more slots into China but have faced restrictions and heated competition in gaining access. Under a 2004 agreement, U.S. carriers were restricted to 10 daily flights from the United States into Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters in a statement today said the two countries in 2010 would resume discussions for a fully liberalized agreement.
DOT this year awarded United Airlines authority to add nonstop service between Washington, D.C., and Beijing.
DOT last April also allowed American to launch daily nonstop service from Chicago to Shanghai and in June 2005 allowed Continental to launch nonstop service from Newark to Beijing. Northwest does not have a nonstop passenger flight between the United States and China, but does offer service to mainland China via Japan. Neither Delta nor US Airways serve China, but both are seeking the next slot allotments.
The International Air Transport Association predicts average annual growth of nearly 10 percent for international traffic into China between 2005 and 2009 and 14.4 percent growth in freight.