United Airlines requested the US Department of Transportation to extend the launch date of San Francisco-Guangzhou service by another year to Jun-2011, following a similar dormancy waiver request made last week by Delta Air Lines (BTNOnline, 29-Apr-2010). United is citing an improving economy, but lagging demand as the reason to postpone the launch. The carrier’s previous extension request, filed in 2008, was based on historical high fuel costs. Since 2007, when regulators approved US carriers to launch 16 additional routes between the US and China through 2009, one carrier has suspended its rights to service, three have deferred the commencement date, and only one (Continental Airlines) has launched service as originally intended, with daily New York Newark-Shanghai service launched in Mar-2009.
United Airlines: "Like Delta's April 21 request for an extension of the dormancy waiver for its planned daily Atlanta-Shanghai service and twice weekly Seattle-Beijing service, United is submitting this motion because international travel demand is improving but not at the level needed for U.S. carriers to implement all planned U.S.-China services for which the Department has awarded frequencies," Company Statement. Source: BTNOnline, 29-Apr-2010.