US airlines bid for new China services

Major US airlines including Northwest, US Airways and Continental are all bidding at the U.S. Department of Transportation for a range of new services to Shanghai and Beijing.Northwest Airlines has filed with the DOT for new rights to operate Detroit and Shanghai as well as
Detroit and Beijing nonstop service.

Northwest’s application is in
response to the DOT’s invitation to carriers interested in using the
rights that are available under the landmark new aviation agreement
with China.

  DOT plans to award six new routes that become available to China
between 2007 and 2009.

  “Northwest wants to begin new service to China just as soon as
possible,” said Doug Steenland, Northwest president and chief
executive officer. “Northwest’s WorldGateway hub at Detroit offers an
unmatched combination of broad network coverage of the entire Eastern
half of the United States, convenient direct routings, and a new,
state-of-the art terminal facility.”

  “Northwest would provide attractive connecting service to China
from more than 100 U.S. cities. If the DOT wants to benefit the most
U.S. passengers and the most U.S. cities, Northwest is the clear first
choice,” added Steenland.


  The DOT plans to award the routes in an expedited fashion. DOT has
indicated a preference for a new entrant carrier in 2007, but remains
open to other options. “Northwest is ready to start flying right
away,” said Neal Cohen, Northwest executive vice president - strategy
and international. Northwest would use Boeing 747-400 aircraft for
Detroit to Shanghai service, if selected for a 2007 award. “We’re
prepared to respect the DOT’s wishes, but we think the public and the
DOT should have a choice. Northwest would accept China frequencies in
either or both years.”

  If selected for 2009 service, Northwest plans to use Boeing 787
Dreamliners for both routes. Northwest is the North American service
launch customer for the 787, a fuel-efficient aircraft that will usher
in a new era of customer comfort and convenience. The 787 will be one
of the most environmentally-friendly planes in the sky.

Meanwhile, Continental Airlines has submitted its application to the Department of Transportation to provide the first nonstop U.S. carrier service between the financial and commercial centers of the U.S. and China, New York/Newark and Shanghai. Continental will also provide through flight service between Cleveland and Shanghai.

Continental seeks the route award as part of a new landmark aviation agreement officially signed July 9, 2007, which provides extensive additional air service opportunities between the U.S. and China over the next six years.

“Continental again congratulates the DOT on securing the multiple rights for additional competitive U.S. airline service to China which Continental intends to utilize in 2009, by offering daily nonstop service in the most significant U.S.-China market that lacks daily nonstop U.S. carrier service,” said Chairman and CEO Larry Kellner.

The proposed route from Continental’s New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport will provide additional customer choices for air service to Shanghai from the New York/New Jersey region and the entire northeastern region of the U.S. The new route will serve the large Asian and Chinese American population residing in the New York City/Newark area and the largest population base in the U.S. in which passengers have been forced to use connecting flights or less-than-daily foreign carrier service for their travel needs between the U.S. financial capital and the rapidly expanding Chinese financial capital of Shanghai. Continental’s New York/Newark-Shanghai service, with through-flight service between Cleveland and Shanghai, will also provide convenient connecting service to destinations through its New York hub at Newark Liberty.

“Continental is pleased to continue working with the federal, state and locally elected officials from our Cleveland and northern Ohio hub market to bring additional international air service opportunities to the region,” said Kellner. “Businesses in northern Ohio, just like those in New York and New Jersey that compete in today’s global marketplace, stand to gain from the benefits that international air service provides,” Kellner added.

And finally US Airways
launched a bid for daily non-stop flights from Philadelphia to Beijing
that will bring new competitive options to China throughout the East Coast and
mid-Atlantic regions.

  If approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the flights would
begin in March 2009 and would be the first-ever service to Asia both for the
City of Philadelphia and under the US Airways’ brand.  US Airways will further
enhance this service by offering all-widebody, one-stop service from its hub
in Charlotte.

  “US Airways’ proposal will close a service gap by greatly improving access
to China for the large and dynamic Philadelphia market and by offering
travelers convenient one-stop connections from 37 cities into our Philadelphia
hub,” said US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker.  “With our commitment to
grow our international presence through new markets and new aircraft
acquisitions, and our already strong presence in the U.S.-Europe market, US
Airways is well-positioned to take the next step with service to China.”

  The airline is proposing seven weekly roundtrip flights serving more than
150,000 travelers annually on wide-body Airbus A340 269-seat aircraft between
Philadelphia and Beijing.  Service would originate in Charlotte on a 204-seat
Boeing 767 aircraft.