United proposes China, California flights

United Airlines (UAL) announced it will apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin daily, nonstop service from Los Angeles and San Francisco to China. UAL’s application addresses the rapidly rising, unmet demand for service to China from the West Coast.

2008

UAL’s application proposes nonstop service between San Francisco and Guangzhou in 2008. San Francisco has the largest Chinese-American population of any city in the nation and the proposed route would be the first daily, nonstop U.S. carrier service between the U.S. and Guangzhou. Guangzhou is the business center of the Pearl River Delta region of China and home to a large number of U.S. and other manufacturing facilities. It is also the third most populous city in China. The San Francisco area has more Guangzhou traffic than any other metropolitan area without nonstop service.

Highlights of the San Francisco to Guangzhou service include:

- The new route would operate nonstop on a B777 aircraft with a three-class configuration and 253 seats.

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- United’s West coast hub in San Francisco will offer valuable connections to a large number of cities in the western and southern U.S. through United’s extensive network as well as that of code-share partners.

2009

United also proposes the first ever, daily nonstop service by a U.S. carrier between Los Angeles and Shanghai in 2009. The Los Angeles, region has a population of more than 18 million people and is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without nonstop service to China by a U.S. carrier. California accounts for nearly one-third of all Shanghai traffic, far more than any other state. Shanghai is the largest city in the People’s Republic of China.

Highlights of the Los Angeles to Shanghai service include:

- United proposes a B747 aircraft with 347 seats and a three-class configuration to provide maximum passenger options and comfort.

- United’s West Coast hub at Los Angeles International Airport will offer valuable online connections to a large number of cities in the Western United States through United’s own extensive online network and those of its code share partners.

- At Shanghai, passengers will benefit from United’s code share alliances with Air China and Shanghai Airlines, allowing convenient roundtrip connections to three additional Chinese cities.

“Our East meets West proposal is simple: add capacity to those urban areas with the least service and most pressing demand. Awarding frequencies to San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2008 and 2009 will serve the most customers, and provide them the greatest opportunities for nonstop service to China and beyond,” said Michael Whitaker, senior vice president, United Airlines.

In its application to the U.S. Department of Transportation, United also proposed new flights between Washington, D.C. and Shanghai, as an alternative to the Los Angeles-Shanghai service. The application explained that should service from Los Angeles be awarded to another airline, United’s top priority is the Washington, D.C. - Shanghai service. Within the east coast, the Washington, D.C. area is the fastest growing region and is the largest area without nonstop service to Shanghai. The recent success of the Capital-to-Capital route underscores the public need for more direct flights from Washington, D.C. to China.
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