American opposes Delta’s China flight flexibility request

Washington DC
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American Airlines has filed a comment opposing Delta Air Lines request for flexibility to use seven US-China frequencies for any route with the US Department of Transportation.

The airline asks that the agency reject the request unless it also grants American the same authority to operate any US-China route with its allocated frequencies, according to a filing with the agency.

American flies to Shanghai-Pudong from both Chicago-O'Hare and Los Angeles and to Beijing from Chicago-O'Hare. It applied for frequencies to fly the Beijing to Dallas-Fort Worth route from the DOT in 2006 but was forced to amend the request with the addition of a stop at O'Hare due to limitations in its pilot contracts.

Delta requested a one-year extension of the start-up date for the frequencies to 1 June 2013 and the flexibility to use them for any US-China route on 8 May, in a filing with the DOT. The frequencies are allocated for the Guangzhou to Tokyo-Narita route.

American supports Delta's request for an extension of the start-up date.

Delta did not comment by press time.

The majority of the awarded US-China frequencies are for specified routes. Only those frequencies awarded to former Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta in 2008, and United Airlines prior to the beginning of air service liberalisation between the two countries in 2000 can be used for any US-China route.

American has previously requested US-China route flexibility for its frequencies from the DOT in 2000 and 2004. Both requests were denied.