American Airlines will apply to the United States Department of Transportation to begin serving a new nonstop route between Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Beijing, China, effective March 25, 2009.
American will seek the route award as part of a new agreement between the United States and China to expand airline service between the two countries. The airline said its evaluation of potential new routes to China was based on the economics and likelihood of financial success in the China market as envisioned in 2009.
American said the proposed route from its Chicago hub to Beijing will provide increased customer choice and network competition with other carriers currently serving China. American will bring significant competition to the large and growing local Chicago-Beijing market, as well as provide connections to Beijing via the Chicago hub for 73 cities in 29 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, American has a codeshare relationship with China Eastern Airlines, which can offer extensive connecting service to points within China beyond Beijing. The route will also complement American’s existing service between Chicago and Shanghai, China.
“Having carefully looked at the current competitive landscape and the growth patterns in traffic, we believe that expanding China service from our Chicago gateway will provide the greatest public benefits in this round of new service opportunities,” said Gerard Arpey, American’s Chairman and CEO. “Looking ahead, we expect to participate vigorously in the next proceeding when there will be opportunities for additional gateways in 2010.”
If awarded the authority, American will fly the route seven days a week with its 245-seat Boeing 777 aircraft in three-class configuration.