US Airways Outlines Superior Bid for Philadelphia-Beijing Flights
TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- US Airways (NYSE: LCC - News) told the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today that the airline's bid for daily service to China in 2009 provides maximum competition for U.S. consumers and greater convenience for shippers, while also establishing a new gateway to China for more than 150,000 passengers annually.
"Selection of US Airways will allow a strong new competitor to institute daily nonstop service from a new gateway, using the largest aircraft proposed by any U.S.-Beijing applicant," the airline said in reply filings with the DOT today. "US Airways' application also offers the dual benefits of extensive behind- and beyond-gateway connections, through its comprehensive East Coast network and codeshare arrangements with both Air China and Shanghai Airlines."
The airline is proposing seven weekly roundtrip flights serving more than 150,000 travelers annually on wide-body Airbus A340 269-seat aircraft between Philadelphia and Beijing. Service would originate at the airline's hub in Charlotte, N.C., on a 204-seat Boeing 767 aircraft.
The airline's case, detailed at http://www.usairways.com/china, is supported by an extensive array of elected officials from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. More than 40,000 people also have signed the airline's online e-petition.
The last day to file papers with the DOT was today. If approved by DOT, US Airways' flights would begin in March 2009 and would be the first-ever service to Asia both for the City of Philadelphia and under the US Airways' brand.
In announcing the application earlier this month, US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said US Airways' proposal will close a service gap "by greatly improving access to China for the large and dynamic Philadelphia market and by offering travelers convenient one-stop connections from 37 cities into our Philadelphia hub."
Philadelphia is the second largest city on the East Coast and the fifth in the nation, with a metropolitan area of almost 6 million people. It is also the second largest U.S. metro area without nonstop service to China.
Noting that half the U.S. population lives along the East Coast and that travelers to China are served now by only 25 flights weekly from gateways in Washington, D.C., and New York, the airline said that "the East Coast, and Philadelphia in particular, plainly needs additional nonstop China service."
In addition to increased convenience and competition for passengers, the airline also pointed out unprecedented benefits for cargo shippers, noting that the Charlotte-Philadelphia catchment area represents nearly 50 percent of the U.S.-China cargo market, with a value of more than $30 billion. "Depending on customs processing times, cargo leaving Beijing could be available for pick-up in Charlotte the same day," the airline said.
The DOT is expected to grant authority to U.S. carriers to operate four new U.S.-China routes in 2009, and has suggested that the routes would be assigned to at least one carrier that does not currently serve China.
One of the industry's most financially stable airlines, US Airways has made significant investments in its Philadelphia hub since its merger with America West in the fall of 2005, including a commitment to expand international service from Philadelphia. Today, US Airways is the third largest carrier between Europe and the U.S. in number of destinations served, with flights to 19 European cities.
US Airways currently serves 19 million customers annually at its Philadelphia hub, and operates 448 daily flights to 106 destinations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.
This summer the airline added international service to Athens, Greece; Brussels, Belgium; and Zurich, Switzerland from Philadelphia, and will begin offering year-round service between Philadelphia and Dublin, Ireland this fall.
US Airways is the fifth largest domestic airline employing more than 36,000 aviation professionals worldwide. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express operate approximately 3,800 flights per day and serve more than 230 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The new US Airways -- the product of a merger between America West and US Airways in September 2005 -- is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers our customers 16,000 daily flights to 855 destinations in 155 countries worldwide. This press release and additional information on US Airways can be found at http://www.usairways.com. (LCCG)
Source - PR Newswire