Delta Air Lines said today
that its proposed service linking China to the Southeast in 2006 will
provide an annual economic impact of almost $400 million and offer more
convenient service to more cities than any other airline. In a filing today of direct exhibits with DOT as part of the 2005/2006
U.S.-China Air Services case, Delta said it expects to serve nearly
163,000 passengers in its first year of operations if the carrier is
awarded the rights to provide daily, non-stop Atlanta to Beijing service
beginning in March 2006.
“Delta is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support for its
application so far,” said Gerald Grinstein, CEO. “The DOT has received
more than 12,000 letters, underlining the importance and the need for
service between the growing China market and Atlanta, our nation’s largest
hub. These letters are from customers, 120 local and state officials, and
50 members of Congress, as well as an incredible 8,000-plus from Delta
employees. As their enthusiastic response indicates, the people of Delta
continue to be our company’s most valuable asset, and I continue to be
inspired by their unwavering commitment to this airline.”
According to data in the filing from Georgia officials, China is Georgia’s
sixth-largest and fastest-growing export market, with more than a 220
percent increase in exports since 1999. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue noted in
a letter to the DOT that “a new passenger service route from Atlanta to
Beijing would fill a void that Georgians and the Southeast’s 55 million
citizens have in accessing China for business and leisure travel.”
The eastern United States is currently the fastest-growing travel market
to China. Delta’s Atlanta to Beijing service would remedy this void and
stimulate new trade and investment from the southeastern United States.
The size and scope of Delta’s Atlanta hub will enable non-stop-to-non-stop
service to China for almost 150 U.S. communities. Of these, more than 50
U.S. communities will receive their first non-stop-to-non-stop Beijing
service, and 66 U.S. communities will receive their first competitive
non-stop-to-non-stop U.S.-China service. Delta’s proposed service will
reduce flying time for vast numbers of travelers and shippers throughout
the eastern and southeastern U.S.
More than 71 percent of U.S.-Beijing passengers travel to and from
interior U.S. cities. “No applicant comes close to Delta in terms of
network benefits,” the carrier said in its filing.
The carrier plans to use its Boeing 777 aircraft, which features Delta’s
award-winning BusinessElite service.
For many years, Delta has sought access to the China market. Combined with
the huge connecting opportunities provided by the Atlanta hub—the
largest hub in the world—this daily service will enable Delta to
provide convenient, single-connection service to China, the carrier said.