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US airlines keen on China market

THE Chinese market remains a bonanza for foreign carriers despite the economic downturn.

Two United States carriers are to launch non-stop services this year and seek to open more routes linking the two countries.

Delta Air Lines will offer non-stop services from Shanghai to Detroit from June.

At present the Chinese market accounts for less than 5 percent of Delta's total revenue, but its growth is the fastest of the carrier's markets, it said.

Richard Anderson, chief executive officer of Delta, reaffirmed Delta's commitment to the Chinese market during a visit to Shanghai.

"Delta is expected to be profitable this year and we estimate the market will recover late this year," Anderson said.

The carrier launched a non-stop daily flight between Shanghai and Atlanta in March. It is also interested in opening more routes linking China and the US, especially from Shanghai and Beijing to New York.

Continental Airlines is to launch its first daily non-stop flight from Shanghai to New York on March 26.

Continental, the world's fifth-largest carrier, already has direct flights linking New York with Beijing and Hong Kong.

The carrier is having 110 new jets delivered by 2014, including 25 Boeing 787s and eight Boeing 777s.

"Boeing 787 jets are suitable for long-haul flights, and we look forward to opening more Chinese routes to use the jets," said Walter Dias, managing director of the carrier's China and Southeast Asia markets.

"Direct flights from China to Houston can be a very good choice as Chinese basketball player Yao Ming plays in NBA there," he joked. Houston is one of Continental Airlines' four major hubs across the world.

The carrier is to join Star Alliance by the end of this year after announcing close cooperation with the alliance member United Airlines.

Continental Airlines is a member of SkyTeam Alliance at present, along with Delta and Northwest Airlines.


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