American Airlines has received strong support for its application filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate daily nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Beijing, China, starting March 25, 2007. American’s proposal has the endorsement of 28 U.S. senators, 68 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 9 governors, more than 100 mayors and other elected officials, scores of aviation and transportation directors, universities, and more than 400 companies.
To date, more than 82,000 individuals have also submitted letters on behalf of American via its http://www.FlytoChinaonAA.com Web site.
“We are grateful that so many government officials, business leaders and the traveling public support our application because they believe that American Airlines will provide the greatest benefits to the most U.S. passengers and shippers,” said Will Ris, American’s Senior Vice President - Government Affairs. “This new route will deepen the important cultural and economic ties between China and North Texas while providing convenient on-line connections for 95 airports in 32 states and the District of Columbia—approximately 80 percent of the total U.S. population.”
Twenty-eight U.S. senators have sent letters of support to DOT for American’s proposal, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Kit Bond (R- Mo.); Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Ind.); Banking Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.); Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa); Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking member Herb Kohl (D- Wis.); and six members of the Senate Commerce Committee. The geographical breadth of American’s support is demonstrated by the fact that senators representing states stretching from North Carolina and Florida in the East to Colorado and New Mexico in the West have weighed in support of American’s bid.
“A new flight from DFW to Beijing would be a gateway to the East, and will stimulate job growth, promote new and existing businesses, and increase U.S.- China cultural ties and tourism opportunities to the South,” said Texas Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in a letter to DOT Acting Secretary Maria Cino.
Key leaders in the U.S. House also support American’s bid, including House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas); House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Vice Chair Tom Petri (R-Wis.); and House Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Jerry Costello (D-Ill.)
Similarly, House Aviation Subcommittee members Eddie Bernice Johnson (D- Texas) and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), along with 16 other members of the Texas Congressional delegation, weighed in with DOT on American’s behalf, suggesting, “American’s new service will provide the only nonstop link to China from a gateway in the southwestern United States, bringing important competition to existing U.S. carrier gateways to China, which are currently restricted to Newark, Chicago, and San Francisco. As a result, consumers from throughout the South and Southwest will greatly benefit from this new connecting gateway to China and the increased flight options and airline competition it will generate.”
Governors Rick Perry of Texas; Jeb Bush of Florida; Mike Huckabee of Arkansas; Haley Barbour of Mississippi; Bill Richardson of New Mexico; Brad Henry of Oklahoma; Matt Blunt of Missouri; Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana; and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas also have sent letters to DOT in support of American’s bid for the new DFW-Beijing service.
More than 400 corporations and institutions from 32 states and the District of Columbia are endorsing American’s proposed service. A full list of companies can be found on http://www.FlytoChinaonAA.com .
“It is essential that we and our potential Asian business partners have ready access to each others’ industries and markets. A south-central U.S. gateway would redress unequal regional access to this important trade center and provide an economic stimulus to the many communities that are linked to DFW by American and American Eagle Airlines,” said Gov. Barbour.
In a letter to DOT, the Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors, Tom Cochran indicated his support for the position taken by Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief to back American’s bid. Dozens of chambers of commerce and other organizations, such as the Business Travel Coalition and the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, sent letters in favor of a new DFW-Beijing flight. American also has received letters of support from 22 institutions of higher learning, including Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business, the University of Tennessee, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Duke University, and Texas A & M University.
DFW Airport will become the first gateway to China from the southern United States and will provide one-stop service to China from more than 90 domestic cities. The DFW-Beijing service will generate $180 million in annual economic benefit to the state of Texas. American plans to serve the route with its 245-seat Boeing 777 aircraft in three-class configuration.
American has projected that it will carry more than 144,000 passengers in its first year of DFW-Beijing operations, with an average load factor of 80 percent.
Beijing will be the 34th international destination served by American from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub. From DFW, American and American Eagle operate approximately 800 daily departures to 159 destinations. Among American’s nonstop international destinations from DFW are cities in Argentina, The Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
American, a founding member of the global oneworld(R) Alliance, currently serves China with a very successful—and highly competitive—daily nonstop flight between Chicago O’Hare and Shanghai. From Shanghai, American’s customers can also access other areas of China through a codeshare relationship with China Eastern Airlines, one of China’s leading carriers. The introduction of nonstop service to Beijing from DFW will provide passengers with opportunities to connect to 24 points in China’s interior region served by China Eastern from Beijing.