US airlines hold off flights to China

11 Jun 2009

The global financial crisis seems to be taking its toll on US airlines, several of which have postponed or reduced services to China.

Only two of six approved non-stop China-US services are currently in operation, Delta Air Line’s Atlanta-Shanghai and Continental’s Newark-Shanghai routes, according to the China Daily newspaper.

Among the delayed and postponed services are Northwest Airlines’ Detroit-Shanghai service, American Airlines’ Chicago-Beijing service and United Airlines’ San Francisco-Guangzhou service.

In addition, Delta has applied to the US Department of Transportation for reductions to its weekly Atlanta-Shanghai flights.

Traffic from US to China has reportedly dropped more than 15 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year, with business-related travel down by more than 33 percent, according to official figures.

This is a stark change from just two years ago, when a bilateral agreement between China and the US allowed carriers to double the number of non-stop flights between the two countries by 2012, although with the current economic situation, airlines have no choice but to wait and see.

Joshua Tan

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