(Yicai) Jan. 26 -- The flights to China that United Airlines removed from its March schedule had not yet been approved, Yicai found following reports that the US carrier has pulled nearly 70 percent of flights to the Chinese mainland from cities such as New York and San Francisco.
UA’s website shows that the 161 flights removed from the upcoming schedule are not the China-US routes currently in use. They had been previously entered into the Chicago-based airline’s reservations system, but had not been approved.
Airlines generally put flights into their reservation systems in advance and then adjust them according to traffic rights and market conditions. These tickets are largely full-priced and are sold in advance, providing what industry insiders describe as a kind of “interest-free loan” for the airlines.
The large-scale cancellations of China-US flights from March fall into this category. At present, there is no change in the 14 weekly flights UA operates between China and the United States, which are daily round-trip routes from San Francisco to Shanghai and San Francisco to Beijing.
In 2019, before the pandemic, there were more than 300 flights a week between China and the US, but at the moment the number is about 70.
At the annual work meeting of the Civil Aviation Administration of China at the end of last year, Director Song Zhiyong said it was necessary “to promote a significant increase in direct flights between China and the US.” The US Department of Transportation has also said it hopes to further normalize flights during the northern hemisphere’s summer.
Editor: Tom Litting