Tuesday, September 22, 2015

United seeks approval for San Francisco-Xi’an, China flights

United Airlines has asked the US government for permission to operate seasonal flights in 2016 between San Francisco and Xi’an, China.

The transpacific service would be operated 3X-weekly with Boeing 787s from May 8 to Oct. 27, 2016, United said in a statement. Located in the interior part of northwest China, Xi’an is the capital of Shannxi province.

United vice chairman and chief revenue officer Jim Compton said recently that United’s San Francisco-Chengdu 787-8 flights, which were launched last year, are a precursor to how it will develop the US-China market. The Chicago-based airline became the first US carrier to fly directly to the capital of Sichuan province.

“So much of the demand growth out of China over the next five years is going to be from secondary cities,” Compton said, adding that the “787 is the perfect aircraft to serve that developing market.” In addition to Chengdu, United serves Beijing and Shanghai in China.

If the US Department of Transportation (DOT) approves United’s application, the airline would become the first US carrier to serve Xi’an and the only airline operating Xi’an flights to/from any point in the Americas.

Flight time from San Francisco to Xi’an would be approximately 13 hr., 5 min and from Xi’an to San Francisco would be about 12 hr., 5 min.

United has 19 787s in its fleet, comprising eight 787-8s and 11 787-9s. It expects to take delivery of six more 787-9s by the end of this year. United, the North American launch customer for the 787, expects to have eight 787-8s and 22 787-9s in its fleet by July 2016. It ultimately plans to have 50 787s in its fleet.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

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