United files final China route brief

United Airlines has
officially filed its final brief to connect Washington, D.C., and Beijing
with the first-ever nonstop air service between two of the world’s most
important capital cities.United’s proposal offers the greatest capacity,
most promising passenger forecast and greatest benefit to the public and
national interest of any of the applications.
  In its filing, United described how the proposed capital-to-capital
connection offers a unique opportunity to promote the national interest by
providing the only non-stop connection between these two key capitals. The
route from the Washington region—by far the largest in the U.S. without
non-stop service to China—also offers service and competitive benefits
that far exceed those of the other applicants. By offering more seats,
United’s proposal would do far more than any other proposal to improve
competition in the high-demand, government constrained U.S.-China air
service market.
  United’s proposal is also backed by a formidable slate of former senior
government officials from eight presidential administrations and both
houses of Congress, China policy experts, business and civic leaders,
transportation officials and more than 110,000 United customers and
  “This case should be determined by what is in the best interests of the
public and the community,” said Jane Garvey, co-chair of the Capital-to-
Capital Coalition and former FAA administrator under Presidents William J.
Clinton and George W. Bush. “With 13 carriers already providing service
between the U.S. and China, and demand far outstripping supply—
increasing the number of seats is the best way to improve competition.
United’s proposal offers not only the largest number of seats, it is
clearly the proposal that offers the greatest benefit to the critical
relationship between the U.S. and China.”
  Highlights of the application include:

  —Greater benefit to more people
    —Service aboard a three-class, 347-seat B747-400, the largest
capacity of all proposed aircraft. United’s is the only proposal to
offer both the B747-400 and first-class seating and would bring
almost 9,000 more seats to the market than the next closest
competitive proposal.
    —A network of 16 online connections in China through United’s code
share alliances with Air China and Shanghai Airlines. The three
other competitors offer one online connection combined.
    —A codeshare agreement that would permit US Airways to provide its
customers access to the China market, along with customers of
  —In the national interest
    —The first service allowing Washington, D.C. to join 28 other world
capitals in offering non-stop service to Beijing.
    —The only proposal endorsed as beneficial to the critical
relationship between the U.S. and China by a broad range of senior
foreign policy experts and officials, including three former
Secretaries of State, three former Secretaries of Defense and eight
former U.S. Trade Representatives.
  —Meeting existing local demand
    —Direct service for more than 8 million residents of the Washington,
D.C., metropolitan area - the largest metro area in the country
without nonstop air service to China.
    —The first local service for the nearly 68,000 D.C. area residents
who traveled to China in 2005 - over twice the number of people who traveled to China from the Dallas/Ft. Worth region last year.
  In serving the Washington, D.C., region, the route would benefit the
largest metropolitan area in the country without nonstop service to China.
The Washington area also has more China and Beijing traffic (currently
flying indirect routes to China) than any other metropolitan area without
nonstop service. The direct route would be the first from the Mid-Atlantic
and would bolster China service for the underserved Eastern United States.
  United’s Washington-to-Beijing proposal also serves the national
interest in ways the other proposals cannot begin to match. It would
finally connect, some three decades after the two capitals reinstated
diplomatic relations, two of the world’s most important political, economic
and cultural powers.
  A strong roster supports the route, including:

  —Government officials, including bipartisan support from more than 110
members of Congress; the leaders of the House International Relations
Committee and the U.S.-China Working Group; and more than 155
governors, mayors and other state and local officials.

  —A bipartisan group of former government officials, including twelve
former Cabinet secretaries, 14 U.S. Ambassadors, eight former U.S.
Trade Representatives, and numerous other officials whose service
spanned eight administrations over more than 40 years, and a host of
other high level foreign policy and national security officials.

  —China policy experts at think tanks and university study programs,
including scholars from the Brookings Institution’s China Initiative
Program; the Center for Strategic and International Studies; the
Institute for International Economics; The Stanley Foundation; the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; the U.S.-China Education
Trust; the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; the
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis; and Georgetown University.


  —Business and civic leaders and organizations from throughout the United
States and China, including the Committee of 100; the United States
Olympic Committee; the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz; the National
Football League; hundreds of U.S. and China-based companies; more than
25 airports and airport authorities; and more than 65 chambers of
commerce, economic development and tourism organizations.
  Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., D.C. Mayor
Anthony Williams and Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling also support United’s
route application.
  Survey data shows that U.S. citizens support the selection of the
Washington route by a 5-to 1 margin and China-based business travelers also
support the route by an overwhelming margin.
  Washington, D.C., is the fourth-largest metro area in the U.S. and the
largest without nonstop service to China. It is also the fastest growing
market to China in the country, and the fastest-growing market for U.S.
exports. Washington also has the largest Chinese population of all U.S.
markets without nonstop service to China.