Updated with more details on US-China frequencies in paragraph six
American Airlines will begin nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and both Hong Kong and Shanghai Pudong from June 2014.
The Hong Kong flights will be operated with a 310-seat Boeing 777-300ER and the Shanghai flights with a 247-seat 777-200ER, according to the Fort Worth, Texas-based Oneworld alliance carrier. Both services will operate once daily.
“Today's news underscores our commitment to strengthen American's global network in the most important markets around the world," says Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive of American. “We're building an even stronger foundation to succeed in our pending merger with US Airways.”
Hong Kong is new to American’s network and it already serves Shanghai from both Chicago O’Hare International and Los Angeles International airports.
Regulatory approval is required for both routes. Flights between the US and China and Hong Kong operate under separate bilateral agreements that, in the case of the former, requires the allocation of available US-China frequencies from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for the proposed Shanghai flights.
There were 25 US-China frequencies available to US carriers this past April, after Hawaiian Airlines received three for its planned Honolulu-Beijing flight. United's planned San Francisco-Chengdu service, which was approved by the DOT in September, does not require frequencies due to the city's location outside China's developed coastal areas.
"We think we're in good shape on the slots," says Horton.
The new flights will operate as part of American’s existing joint venture with Japan Airlines (JAL).
American’s Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific Airways is based in Hong Kong and operates a large hub at the airport.
The new flights are a win for Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW). The airport has been pushing for new service to Asia, especially greater China, for some time with airport executives travelling to and from the region multiple times to promote new service.
Chris Poinsatte, chief financial officer and executive vice-president of airline business and technology at DFW, told Airline Business earlier in October that China remained a focus of the airport’s network growth strategy and said that the airport had met with American, JAL and Malaysia Airlines about potential new service.
Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price misspoke twice in her excitement at the route announcement today, saying that the new service was to Hong Kong and “Shingapore” - a possible hint at the region's next target for nonstop flights.
American previously sought to launch a nonstop Dallas/Fort Worth-Beijing flight in early 2007 but lost its bid for US-China frequencies when it amended its service proposal with the flight stopping in Chicago in route to Beijing due to the constraints of its pilots contract.
No airlines fly between Dallas/Fort Worth and either Hong Kong or Shanghai, Innovata schedules show.