New Talks Seen on China Flights

Discussions about increasing air traffic between China and the U.S. have been productive, the DOT says.
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Last week's talks about speeding up the increase in air traffic between China and the U.S. were productive, the Transportation Department said Monday, and more discussions are planned.

"Both sides exchanged proposals providing for greater liberalization of the aviation market," said DOT spokesman Bill Mosley. "Although no agreement was reached, the delegations agreed that a next round should be scheduled at an early date that will be determined through diplomatic channels."

Talks were held March 14-15 in Washington, following a meeting in Beijing in January. The intent is "to make meaningful progress toward further liberalization of the aviation relationship" prior to a May meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, Mosley 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.

Last month, the DOT granted

UAL's

(UAUA)

United Airlines the authority to begin flying a Washington-Beijing route on March 28.

So far,

Delta

(DALRQ)

and

US Airways

(LCC)

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.