China Southern, Xiamen Airlines, and China Eastern have all outlined plans to increase services between the United States and China. This comes shortly after both of the countries agreed to allow more weekly flights between them. Now, where there was a total of eight weekly operations on US and Chinese airlines between the two nations, there will soon be a total of 16 weekly flights.
Currently, China Southern is operating a once-weekly frequency between its hub in Guangzhou (CAN) and Los Angeles (LAX). China Southern plans on flying an Airbus A380, Boeing 787-9, or Boeing 777, depending on scheduling. The current schedule has the flight departing Guangzhou for Los Angeles on Saturdays with the return flight from LAX to CAN operating on Sundays.
China Southern wants to add another weekly roundtrip between the two airports. The China to US flight will depart on Thursdays, and the US to China flight will depart on Fridays.
China Southern will also codeshare on Xiamen’s flights between Xiamen (XMN) and LAX.
Xiamen Airlines currently flies once weekly between its hub at XMN and LAX. The XMN to LAX flight departs on Sundays while the return LAX to XMN flight departs on Mondays. Xiamen uses a Boeing 787 on this route.
The plan is to grow this to twice weekly with the second weekly XMN to LAX flight operating on Wednesday and the second weekly LAX to XMN flight operating on Thursdays. The airline will also codeshare on China Southern’s flights between CAN and LAX.
China Eastern flies from Shanghai (PVG) to New York (JFK) once a week. The flight from PVG to JFK departs on Tuesdays with the return operating on Wednesdays. The airline wants to grow these flights using a Boeing 777-300ER between Shanghai and New York, with the second weekly outbound departing on Mondays and the return from JFK to PVG operating on Tuesdays.
Which alliances win?
Delta is one of the biggest winners when it comes to offering its passengers flights between the US and China. The airline codeshares with China Eastern and China Southern. In total, this gives Delta access to four weekly flights on Chinese airlines coupled with its four weekly flights. This brings it to a total of eight weekly offerings between the US and China. When you take the Skyteam alliance into account, then you get Delta, China Eastern, and Xiamen Airlines operating a total of eight weekly flights.
American Airlines is currently not serving China but plans to resume service later on. It does, however, codeshare with China Southern, giving passengers access to those twice-weekly flights between Los Angeles and Guangzhou.
As for United, well, until Air China gets its second weekly flight schedules, United will only be offering its passengers five weekly flights. Four on its own metal between Shanghai and San Francisco, and another one on Air China’s metal between Los Angeles and Beijing.
There is still plenty of room to grow. The US and China do not have an Open Skies Agreement that allows airlines to operate as many flights as they wish. Instead, air travel between the two countries is regulated by the US-China Civil Air Transport Agreement.
China was one of the first big markets that airlines pulled out of due to the health crisis. And, while domestic travel is recovering in China, times are still tough for Chinese airlines as international flights remain significantly reduced.