U.S. cargo carriers poised to receive extra China flights
The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed granting additional all-cargo rights for China to FedEx, UPS, Northwest Airlines and Polar Air Cargo and new entry into the U.S./China passenger market for Continental Airlines and American Airlines.
Under the tentative decision, the four cargo airlines already serving the market would receive three additional weekly flights beginning March 25, 2006. Continental would be awarded seven weekly passenger flights between Newark/New York and Beijing on March 25, 2005, becoming the first U.S. carrier to operate nonstop service to China from the New York area. American would receive seven weekly flights serving the Chicago/Shanghai market, effective March 25, 2006.
The new rights are a byproduct of last year’s bilateral aviation agreement between the United States and China that opened up the aviation market. In 2004, the DOT named Polar Air as the first new carrier to enter the China market under the agreement. Polar received nine weekly U.S./China flights, six of which were available immediately last October and three beginning March 25, 2005. FedEx and UPS each received 12 additional weekly flights and Northwest received six. For each of the three incumbent carriers, half of the new flights were available in October and other half on March 25 of this year.
Once all the carriers exercise their full rights, the number of U.S. airlines in the market and the number of flights they can operate will have nearly doubled.
The DOT said the selection of Continental and American was based on a desire to increase competition in the passenger market served by Northwest and United Airlines. The DOT denied applications for entry into the China cargo market from Evergreen International Airlines, Gemini Air Cargo and World Airways. World sought to operate six round-trip cargo flights per week to Shanghai and Guangzhou serving Houston and San Jose, Calif.
Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and North American Airlines for denied their requests to commence passenger service.
The DOT is accepting comments on the proposed decision through March 4. To review the complete, preliminary order go to http://dms.dot.gov and enter docket number OST-2004-19077.