US Department of Transportation granted (18-Jul-2012) an application from Hainan Airlines to provide new scheduled service between Chicago and Beijing. “This is good news for air travelers in the Chicago area and around the United States,” US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “This service will provide the public with an additional option for traveling to China.” There currently is no nonstop service between Chicago and Beijing by a Chinese carrier using its own aircraft. Both American Airlines and United Airlines currently provide daily nonstop service in the Chicago-Beijing market. Hainan filed its application on 18-Jun-2012. No objections were filed to Hainan’s application, which sought rights available under the US-China aviation agreement. Hainan proposes initially to operate four times weekly service, using Boeing 787 aircraft, beginning in 2Q2013. [more - original PR]
US DoT grants Hainan Airlines application for Beijing-Chicago service
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When North America turns its attention to the international market, it has lately been Turkish Airlines and the Middle East network carriers that capture the public eye. But not to be overlooked are airlines from mainland China. Since mid-2012 China Southern made the first notable upgrade to its Los Angeles route by up-gauging from the 777-200 to A380. Air China has increased Los Angeles and New York services and launched Houston. Hainan Airlines is planning Chicago and now Boston while China Eastern is waiting on new 777-300ERs to double its presence. Further growth comes from Canada too, which in Jul-2013 expanded its air service agreement with China.
This growth is not coincidental. Chinese carriers look favourably at North America more than any other long-haul market. Competition is lower and easing of the visa application process is seeing demand rise. Actual or announced Chinese growth in North America is pale to what is to come. There are challenges: international marketing and perception is weak, and this impacts yields. With time they will get there and change North America-Asia traffic flows as well as alliances and partnerships.
KLM looks to grow partnerships in Asia, which are becoming larger targets than North America's
Partnerships and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are intertwined: KLM and Northwest Airlines first joined forces in 1989 when KLM acquired a 20% holding in the US carrier, then the two pioneered the industry's first modern joint venture in 1997, subsequently been imitated not just by trans-Atlantic peers but by airlines across the world. Partnerships today are even more prevalent and critical for KLM. The trans-Atlantic deal has expanded and KLM has a JV with Kenya Airways, among others.
But it is Asia where KLM's breadth of partnerships is most evident and also where there are expansion opportunities, as KLM COO and Deputy CEO Pieter Elbers told CAPA at its recent World Aviation Summit in Amsterdam.
The launch of European flights by China's Sichuan and Xiamen Airlines could see KLM form a deeper partnership, adding to its existing relationships with China Eastern and JV partner China Southern. KLM's historical relationship with Malaysia Airlines has continued despite MAS joining oneworld in 2013, and KLM has also added one-time foe Etihad Airways as a partner. KLM would like a partner in Japan, its second-largest Asian market, and ideally hitch on Air France's relationship with JAL. Mr Elbers describes a stable if limited relationship with SkyTeam heavyweight Korean Air. The growth in partnerships comes as Asia widens its lead over North America as KLM's largest long-haul market.