Originally in Travel Weekly…By Robert Silk /
Both airlines had applied to add new service between Los Angeles and Beijing. The DOT said it selected American because Delta already offers West Coast-Beijing service while American does not.
American’s planned daily service to Beijing would be the last flight to the Chinese capital that the DOT can approve under the existing U.S.-China Air Transport Agreement, which caps the number of combined weekly frequencies to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou at 161.
American says it will fly the route with a 289-seat Boeing 777-200.
In its tentative decision, the DOT noted that United already serves Beijing from San Francisco as well as from Los Angeles via a codeshare with Air China. Delta flies to Beijing from Seattle.
“The Department tentatively finds that the potential benefits of selecting American, and thereby adding a third U.S. competitor to the West Coast-Beijing market, outweigh the benefits that would be achieved through the selection of Delta,” reads the decision.
The American flight, the DOT said, would add 24 one-stop connecting points to Beijing from U.S. markets, including 12 from western cities with proven Beijing traffic.
An LAX-Beijing flight on Delta would also add one-stop service from numerous cities to Los Angeles and then onto the Chinese capital, the DOT noted, but travelers from those cities can already fly one-stop to Beijing on Delta through Seattle.
Interested parties have until Nov. 29 to respond to the tentative DOT decision.
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