The service will use a Boeing 747-400 on the Washington, D.C. to Beijing route, expected to begin by March 25. Since United is part of Star Alliance and Air China and Shanghai Airlines are expected to be joining the consortium, there will be 16 connecting future flights available from Beijing.
According to Air Transport World, the three airlines that didn’t win the route were American Airlines that would have flown from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, with a stop at Chicago’s O’Hare; Continental that offered service from Newark to Shanghai; and Northwest Airlines that would have flown from Detroit to Shanghai.
On the heels of the announcement of the award from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to United, Delta Air Lines launched a bid for a route to be awarded by DOT next year. The Atlanta to Shanghai flights would begin on March 25, 2008, says the airline. It’s expected that the other airlines that lost in this last round will seek the 2008 award as well.
United emerged from reorganization last year and since then, for the 11 months that ended on December 31, 2006, the airline reported net income of $25 million, a boost of $423 million, year over year. In the quarter United had an operating profit of $23 million, for the third consecutive quarter in which it had an operating profit.