American seeking Beijing flight delay
BY MARY SCHLANGENSTEIN Bloomberg News
Thursday, October 01, 2009
10/01/09 at 9:24 AM
American Airlines has asked federal regulators for an additional delay of almost four weeks in beginning flights between Chicago and Beijing.
The request to postpone the start date to May 1 from the current April 4 deadline follows similar filings by Delta Air Lines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc.
The Transportation Department has not ruled on American's petition, Bill Mosley, an agency spokesman, said Wednesday.
American, a unit of AMR Corp., in 2008 secured a one-year delay from this year for the initial flights as demand waned and fuel prices rose. Several other carriers at about the same time also received federal approval to postpone China service to 2010 from 2009.
"Beijing is a part of our long-term strategy in Asia," said Tim Smith, a spokesman for Fort Worth-based American. The additional delay is a "routine request related to the rest of our systemwide schedule, aircraft and crew availability."
Delta in June was given approval to extend the suspension of its daily Atlanta-Shanghai service through August 2010, said Kent Landers, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based carrier. Delta began daily service in 2008, reduced the number of flights, then halted them in September.
Delta also was given a one-year delay through March 2010 to start daily service between Seattle and Beijing, and approval to fly between Detroit and Shanghai five times a week instead of daily, Landers said.
Transportation officials in August denied a request from US Airways to postpone for a second time the start of its Philadelphia-Beijing service until March 2011, said Jim Olson, a spokesman for the carrier. The regulators told US Airways it was too early to seek such a delay, he said.
The airline earlier received a one-year delay to 2010. The Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier sought the second postponement because of reduced demand, Olson said.
US Airways is weighing whether to reapply for an extension or give up the route award and seek a new one in 2011, Olson said.
Travelers wait for their departing American Airlines flight from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. American has asked regulators for an additional delay of almost four weeks in beginning flights between Chicago and Beijing. TIM BOYLE / Bloomberg News