Gerard Arpey, Chairman and
CEO of American Airlines, made the following statement in response to news
that the U.S. and Chinese governments have reached agreement on additional
access to China for U.S. carriers:
“The agreement between the U.S. and Chinese governments is great news for
travel and commerce between our two countries. We commend the negotiators
of the Department of Transportation and the State Department for their
skill, hard work and sense of purpose in negotiating a market-changing
agreement that will result in vastly increased commercial air service
between the two countries.
“For several years American has had strong interest in serving China and
now looks forward to vigorously participating in the DOT’s carrier
selection proceeding. In keeping with one of our Turnaround Plan tenets—
‘Fly Smart, Give Customers What They Value’—American is focused on
developing a route network that can offer travelers convenient service to
all corners of the globe. China would be a sensational addition to the
network, complementing our already strong service to Europe and Latin
America and our recent expansion in Japan with new service between Los
Angeles and Tokyo.
“Although American’s opportunities to compete in key Asian markets outside
Japan have been limited by governmental restrictions, our aspirations in
the region have been high. Through partnerships with Cathay Pacific, a
fellow member of the global oneworld alliance, and with Japan Airlines,
China Eastern, Vietnam Airlines and EVA Airlines, we have been able to
broaden our reach in the trans-Pacific market. But American will be able
to offer our customers so much more in this growing and ever-important
market once we are able to operate directly between the U.S. and China.
“The last time U.S.-China route authority was available, American was an
aggressive participant in the carrier selection proceeding, and we were
deeply disappointed when the designation went to an all-cargo airline.
This time, new route authorities will be available for combination
carriers like American, and we will again make a strong case for operating
the new route from our international gateway at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
with nonstop Boeing 777 service to Shanghai.
“Chicago is a huge local market and a connecting center where American can
offer convenient access to China from dozens of cities in our U.S.
network, and is the perfect choice to operate services provided by the new
route authority. With our strong Chicago hub, American is well positioned
to present the strongest competitive challenge to U.S. carriers currently
serving the U.S.-China market. We look forward to showing DOT that the new
route authority is put to best use by promptly awarding it to American