United launches LA-Shanghai route

The Los Angeles region will benefit significantly from proposed nonstop airline service to Shanghai, according to city estimates released today.

The City of Los Angeles projects that if awarded, a daily, nonstop United Airlines flight from Los Angeles-to-Shanghai would contribute $647 million annually in economic output for the region’s economy, including $164 million in wages and 3,120 direct and indirect jobs.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, Governor Schwarzenegger urged the Department of Transportation to recognize the tremendous economic benefit of a flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai.

“United’s proposed routes will mean significant economic benefits to both China and the United States,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “China is our country’s fourth largest trading partner, and California is a leading U.S. gateway for trade with China, making the state an ideal choice for increased ties to China.”

While the demand for flights to China is increasing, Los Angeles remains the largest metropolitan area in the country without nonstop service to China from a U.S. carrier.

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the case for a nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Shanghai is compelling, given the economic strength and potential of both cities.

“The ties between Los Angeles and China are extensive. Los Angeles established record levels of trade with China in 2006, with more than $118 billion in goods flowing between the US and China through LAX and the Port of Los Angeles,” Villaraigosa wrote in his own letter to Secretary Peters. “United Airlines’ proposed service will help western based businesses meet the rapidly rising demand for access to markets in China.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to decide in the fall where the route will be awarded. Los Angeles - the fastest growing aviation market to Shanghai - has more traffic to Shanghai than any other U.S. metro area.
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