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American Shipper

U.S.-China treaty expands air service

U.S.-China treaty expands air service

   The United States and China on Saturday officially signed a new air services agreement that significantly opens up flight frequencies for passenger and cargo airlines

   The bilateral aviation treaty, which was negotiated in June, allows five additional airlines from each country to serve the U.S./China market and permits 195 new weekly flights for each country — 111 by all-cargo carriers. The United States may name one additional all-cargo airline, while China may name either a passenger or cargo airline to start service later this year. One carrier per year, either passenger or cargo, can enter the market in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010. FedEx, UPS and Northwest provide all-cargo service to China.

   The U.S. Department of Transportation said it awarded the first 14 weekly passenger flight slots to United Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Northwest will operate seven flights from Detroit to Guangzhou — the first passenger service to that city — with a stopover in Tokyo, while United will begin daily non-stop service between Chicago and Shanghai.

   DOT Secretary Norman Mineta, who signed the pact during a ceremony in Beijing, also announced a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency for the U.S.-China Aviation Cooperation Program, also known as the Wright Brothers Partnership. This public-private program will bring together Federal Aviation Administration and a dozen U.S. aviation companies operating in China to increase awareness of U.S. technology, project standards and services that will assist China in strengthening its aviation infrastructure, and improve its aviation safety. The grant is the first installment of $1 million in total funding for the partnership.

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