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American Airlines Hopes for daily Chicago - Shanghai Service

American Airlines announced today that
it will vigorously seek authority to begin daily nonstop service between
Chicago and Shanghai, China, starting on May 1 of next year. This
opportunity results from the highly successful negotiations by the
Departments of Transportation and State, in which the United States won
the right to designate two additional airlines to serve China in the next
two years. Using the highly popular Boeing 777 three-class aircraft,
American’s service will clearly provide the strongest possible competition
in this growing market.“This would be a big breakthrough for us in the Asian market,” said Gerard
J. Arpey, American’s Chairman and CEO. “Since the reopening of the
U.S.-China aviation market more than 20 years ago, only two U.S. passenger
carriers have had the authority to serve China, the world’s largest
country, and for most of that time their service has been provided through
Japan. Without question, American is the strongest possible U.S. carrier
to compete against the long- entrenched incumbents.”

The initial enthusiastic support from numerous key elected officials for
American’s proposal reflects how important this new service is to the
nation. That support includes the Speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives, the Governor of Illinois, the Senior Senator from
Illinois and the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Noting that O’Hare holds the unique distinction of being the nation’s only
two-carrier international hub airport, Arpey said the strength of the
local market and the hub’s substantial connecting traffic make Chicago an
ideal city for American’s initial entry into the Chinese marketplace.
Moreover, the selection of American will help to mitigate the overwhelming
advantage in access to the Asian market enjoyed by the other major Chicago
carrier, United Airlines. Making the playing field more even will help
assure that vigorous competition will continue in Chicago.

“For numerous cities, particularly those in our country’s industrial and
agricultural midsection, O’Hare is the primary—and in some cases, the
only—link to international markets,” Arpey said. “Since 60 percent of
the nation’s population is located east of the Mississippi River, O’Hare
is the premier geographic location to serve the needs of the traveling

“I applaud American Airlines application to serve China from O’Hare,” said
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. “The new service will benefit
communities throughout the region, and air travelers will be able to take
advantage of increased competition.”


“I support American’s application to fly from Chicago to Shanghai,” said
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “This new service will offer a great benefit
to the Chicago business community, and to travelers with business or
tourism opportunities in China.”

“One of Iowa’s principal international gateways is Chicago’s O’Hare
Airport. The application by American Airlines to begin new service next
spring between Chicago and Shanghai is a positive development for Iowa,”
said U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee. “A direct flight between Chicago and Shanghai would provide
additional service for Iowans and Iowa businesses to the growing China

“American’s proposed Chicago-Shanghai route will offer the communities,
businesses and passengers of Illinois—and throughout the Midwest—the
enhanced service and competition they deserve,” said Illinois Gov. Rod
Blagojevich. “The U.S. Department of Transportation should move quickly to
approve American’s application for improved access and convenience to
China from the nation’s premier gateway, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.”

“I am pleased that American Airlines has chosen to file an application to
serve China from O’Hare,” said Rep. Bill Lipinski, D-Ill. “The service
will not only be a boost to the Chicagoland economy, but will also enhance
consumer choice.”

“More than 380,000 companies are based in the Chicago region, including 34
Fortune 500 companies, and they will all benefit from new service to
Shanghai,” said Jerry Roper, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of
Commerce. “The first step in trade is often face-to-face meetings and
having easy access by air to China is critically important to our city.”

Shanghai will become the 19th international destination served by American
from its Chicago hub and will complement American’s five routes between
the United States and its other Asian destination—Tokyo, Japan. From
Shanghai, American will offer convenient connections to several cities
within China through its long-standing partnership with China Eastern
Airlines, which is based in Shanghai and is that city’s largest carrier.