American Airlines to restart service to China, taking number of China-US flights to 20 per week

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/12 12:11:42

An American Airlines 737 MAX sits at LaGuardia airport in New York on March 13 Photo: VCG

American Airlines has announced to restart services between China and the US, with a total of 20 flights per week.

It is the third US carrier to announce such a plan following its two rivals, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. So far, all of the carriers flying to China have announced to resume flights to China. 

American Airlines is set to resume service to China, as it will fly twice weekly between Dallas-Fort Worth International and Shanghai Pudong International airports, with a stop in Seoul, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing a spokeswoman for the carrier said. 

The airline will fly to Beijing's new Daxing International Airport, rather than the previous destination of Beijing Capital, when that route resumes on March 27, the carrier said.

Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines announced it would resume direct flights to Shanghai beginning December 3. United Airlines resumed direct flights between San Francisco and Shanghai on October 21.

These carriers had suspended flights between the US and China since February due to the coronavirus pandemic, and United and Delta resumed flights from the US to China in June and July with a stop in Seoul.

The resumption of direct flights between China and the US is in accordance with approved flight quotas, and there has been no loosening of China's strict policy on overseas flights, Lin Zhijie, a market watcher, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

As COVID-19 cases rebound sharply in countries from North America to Europe, Chinese embassies in several countries, including Russia, the US and the UK, are now requiring all passengers flying to China to present a negative result for a blood test called a serum IgM antibody test, in addition to the previously required negative test result for a nucleic acid test, before they are to be allowed to board a flight to China.

However, Chinese consumers' need for travel, coupled with their confidence in domestic safety, are driving a post-pandemic revival in domestic travel. Signs show that China's hospitality industry is rebounding steadily, despite the challenges the global pandemic has posed to the tourism industry and hotel operations.

Hotel occupancy rates and domestic flight capacities have been gradually rising since as early as May. According to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, domestic travel rebounded to 81 percent of pre-pandemic levels during this year's Golden Week holiday. These leisure travelers are releasing "pent-up demand" due to lockdowns earlier this year, seeking back-to-nature escapes as well as shopping and lifestyle destinations.

Joseph Khairallah, Vice President of Operations North China at Hilton told the Global Times that with the rise of China's middle-class and the booming market demand in third-to-fifth tier cities, the group is confident in the China market and the resilience of its tourism industry. 

He added that Hilton developed its CleanStay and EventReady initiatives earlier this year to meet evolving consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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