American Fails To Land China Route
By Charlotte Libov
Area business leaders who backed American Airline’s bid to win the high-stakes direct route between Dallas and China say they are disappointed with the US Department of Transportation’s decision to award the route to United Airlines.
American has "demonstrated tremendous global connectivity, and, for our marketplace, having American chosen for that flight would have been a great opportunity for Miami," said Barry Johnson, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
United Airlines will be allowed to operate daily nonstop round-trip flights starting March 25 between Washington Dulles International Airport and Beijing, a move expected to create thousands of jobs and link the capitals with nonstop flights in plenty of time for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
"The fact that it was awarded to Dulles might cause a cynic to say that the folks in the Washington, DC, area like to have direct flights," said Frank Nero, president and CEO of the Beacon Council, the county’s economic development arm.
Mr. Johnson said trade between China and Latin America is becoming increasingly significant. "If American had been granted the opportunity to host that route, it would have been very significant to us."
Both organizations supported American Airlines’ bid for the route, which would have brought an increase in passenger traffic to Miami International Airport. Chris Mangos, airport marketing director, said MIA was pinning its hopes for increased Asian passenger traffic on American’s bid.
American is by far the airport’s largest carrier. United operates only a handful of domestic flights here.
American was one of four US airlines that competed for the route. American said it will reapply next year, when a new set of flights will be granted.