U.S. and European Airlines Make Gains in China

Under the recently completed U.S.-China bilateral agreement to expand aviation rights, four U.S. airlines will gain frequency to China. UPS could triple the number of cargo flights it operates between the U.S. and China. FedEx would receive 12 additional weekly U.S.-China flights. Northwest Airlines receives an added six cargo flights. Polar Air Cargo would gain nine weekly flights. Half the flights are available now, the other half after March 25th.

In separate news, Lufthansa Cargo announced a joint venture that will add Shenzhen to its service lanes.

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively granted UPS six additional frequencies to Shanghai. UPS, which applied for new authority in July following completion of a new bilateral agreement between the U.S. and China, was also granted rights for six more flights to Guangzhou in 2005. The Guangzhou frequencies will allow UPS to offer non-stop service to that city for the first time.

UPS entered China in 1988 in partnership with Sinotrans and began direct air service in 2001. Six of the nine flights Polar Air Cargo was awarded will be available immediately. The remainder are available March 25th.

DOT will also allocate 12 new weekly all-cargo flights to a new entrant. Those flights become available March 25th. DOT called for applications for passenger service to China that will become available within the next two years and will grant seven weekly passenger flights to a new entrant. In an unrelated announcement, Lufthansa Cargo said it had launched a 50:50 joint venture with Shenzhen Airport Co. to offer direct airfreight services. In its statement, Lufthansa officials said the airline currently served only two mainland airports; Shenzhen will be its third. Lufthansa currently flies to Beijing and Shanghai.

Hong Kong has ranked as the busiest air cargo hub since 1996, said a Lufthansa official. The country’s rapid growth has encouraged a number of international airlines to rely more on mainland airports.

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