China and the U.S. will resume talking next month about speeding up the increase in air traffic between the two countries.
Talks have been scheduled for March 14-16 in Washington, D.C., the Transportation Department said Monday. "The two sides will discuss liberalization of the agreement," says DOT spokesman Bill Mosley.
The new session would follow talks held Jan. 30-31 in Beijing, where "the overall tone was quite good," Andrew Steinberg, assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs, said in a
February interview with
. "The goal is to make changes in the agreement this spring, and I'd like to see another round in the next several weeks," he said.
Currently, just 11 daily nonstop flights, on average, are offered between the U.S. and China. Given that China is the United States' second-largest trading partner, the demand for seats far exceeds supply. Under a treaty agreement, only seven weekly frequencies (one daily flight) are available each in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In a press release dated Feb. 7, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration said that while "the new round of bilateral aviation talks between U.S. and China failed to bear any fruit," the two sides agreed to keep talking.
Last month, the DOT granted
United Airlines the authority to begin flying a Washington-Beijing route on March 28. So far,
have filed for passenger flights that could begin March 25, 2008. Delta would fly between Atlanta and Shanghai, while US Airways would fly between Philadelphia and Shanghai.