China Flights Awarded, Not Nearly as Fun as Last Time

American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways

Last time, the suspense was great. Who would win the China flight awards? It had all the drama of a good telenovela. (Um, ok, without the attractive people and infidelity.) This time around, however, it wasn’t nearly as much fun.

The announcements came out yesterday for 2008 and 2009 flights and they were mostly as expected. Let’s look back at my post from July 17 to see how I did with my guesses.

Conventional wisdom says Delta will get this year’s award with Atlanta-Shanghai flights. Next year, United is expected to get San Francisco-Guangzhou while the other spot, which can only be used to second tier airports in China, will likely remain unfilled.

I was right about those. Delta and United both got their flights for next year. My luck wasn’t quite as good on the 2009 awards.

If I had to put money down, I’d say Continental (Newark-Shanghai), United (LAX-Shanghai), and US Airways (Philadelphia-Beijing) pick up three slots for 2009 with Delta (Atlanta-Beijing) and American (Chicago/O’Hare-Beijing) fighting for the last one.

Yes, US Airways and Continental won their flights and so did American. But I missed on United getting LAX-Shanghai. Northwest actually snuck in there and won Detroit – Shanghai instead. Maybe the DOT was being sensitive to the fact that they kept giving United awards while Northwest walked away with nothing. I suppose it was about time they got one.

But they tried for Detroit – Beijing as well and didn’t get that one. You know what happened? A day later, China Southern announced they’d begin Detroit – Beijing flying in 2009 with a 787. Since they’re both SkyTeam members, I imagine this is a good opportunity to feed traffic to each other. I was surprised to see China Southern running out of Beijing though. They’ve generally focused on Guangzhou in the past.

So, now we have just about every airline flying to China that wants to be there, with the exception of MAXjet, who really didn’t have a shot this time around anyway. See, not nearly as much fun.

Enjoy the weekend, that is, unless you’re a Colorado Rockies fan. If you are, I hope you have a miserable one. Yes, I’m a Diamondbacks fan. Who could have guessed at the beginning of the season that this Rockies-Dbacks series would be such a big one.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

7 comments on “China Flights Awarded, Not Nearly as Fun as Last Time

  1. China Southern actually has been trying to expand into international service out of Beijing but was being thwarted by the government. This doesn’t surprise.

  2. Yeah, CZ has had a pretty substantial operation at PEK for a while now… especially since their merged their operation with China Northern Airlines and Xinjiang Airlines. In fact, earlier this spring CZ made a big announcement regarding their plans to build-up the PEK hub. So, this announcement falls right in line with that plan.

  3. I can’t say I’m surprised that NW won Detroit-Shanghai.

    First, CF, as you point out, UA has won several awards, so it’s time for NW to get something.

    Second, I suspect that in evaluating overall benefits, UA’s trans-Pacific hub at SFO negatively affected its chances of getting the LAX-Shanghai nod. In away, UA is being penalized for doing its job at SFO. That may not be fair, but we all know that life isn’t fair.

    Finally, giving NW Detroit-Shanghai will provide added competition for all those “heartland” downline markets out there. NW is a fierce and aggressive competitor. While there are immediate and obvious benefits for the local Detroit community, the real beneficiiaries will be the mid-size and smaller cities that provide feed intothe midwest hubs. I suspect that the corporate travel dept. at Wal-Mart, in particular, is thrilled with the awards. Not only did one of its preferred airlines, AA, get a nod, but NW’s award — and, for that matter, DL’s — will help keep their travel costs in check.

  4. Are there any arrangements being made for increased flights between the U.S. and PEK for the Olympics?

    I used to be a frequent flier on UA’s Chicago-Beijing service and found it to be extremely convenient, even for those not in the Chicago area (for instance, if you’re in Philly, DC, or even Hartford, you can easily and quickly get to Chicago, as opposed to dealing with a trans-con flight to CA before the trans-pacific leg to China). Delta’s ATL-PEK will compete heartily with UA in tis market.

  5. Nothing that I know of, Zach. I would imagine there will be some charters if they’re permitted in the bilateral agreement between our countries.

  6. As more flights are announced are they cutting back the number of existing flights? Or does US-China just get more and more flights?

    Airfares for Australia-China flights already seem to be going up more than in the past. I wonder how much is to do with the olympics. I booked a flight to beijing for my daughter and it was 1200 AUD. A lot more than last time we went to Beijing in 2003.

    Also your link up the top
    “The announcements came out yesterday for 2008 and 2009 flights” is not working.


  7. Thanks, Robert. I’ve fixed the link.

    These are all new flights above and beyond what’s already out there. The two countries have had a very restrictive bilateral agreement for years which has meant that nobody has been able to add as much service as they’d like. A recent agreement between the two means that they’ll be able to slowly add service over the years, as you see here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier