American Airlines has been making LAX their Pacific gateway and has been adding flights like crazy. They have added flights to Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland and many others. Over the past year, however, American has been fighting to get their LAX Beijing flight off the ground. There were multiple regulatory hurdles, and more than one dramatic spat. First, Delta wanted to have that Beijing landing slot, and fought American very hard, ultimately losing when the FAA granted AA the flight. Then, Chinese regulatory authorities did not want to give them reasonable times for the flight, which led to AA threatening to the FAA to cancel Air China’s Houston flight.
Well, it seems all is well now, given that American launched the flight on November 5. The flight will help American cooperate with their new equity partner China Southern. I believe that this flight will be of great value for both airlines, since now AA co-locates with CZ in Beijing.
What to Expect
The flight will be operated daily, with one of American’s 787-8s. This aircraft has American’s alternating front-back business class. The plane also does not have premium economy yet. There are a total of 28 business class seats, 55 Main Cabin Extra seats, and 143 Main cabin seats. The aircraft is equipped with international Wifi (that is reasonably priced) and AA’s fairly extensive IFE. The flight schedule is as follows (all times local):
|AA 181||AA 180|
|Departs LAX at 10:55 a.m.||Departs PEK at 6:30 p.m.|
|Arrives at PEK at 4:20 p.m. (next day)||Arrives at LAX at 3:15 p.m.|
A Chance for Customers:
I think that this is a great asset for both American and China Southern passengers. American will now have access to China Southern’s routes from Beijing, expanding the airline’s reach throughout China. This is, however, especially valuable for China Southern. CZ does not have a flight from Beijing to LAX, given Chinese regulations only allowing one Chinese carrier per US route. This will compete with Air China’s flight to the US, and I can say that AA has a better business and economy class than Air China. With the new accessibility from Beijing to China Southern customers, I expect the flight to have healthy load factors from both airlines.
I am very happy to see American finally materialize the benefits of their equity stake in China Southern. We still need to see how the airlines will operate on reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, and how extensive the codeshare shall be. Finally, I look forward to being able to redeem AA miles on CZ flights to China. In the end, I see this as a strengthening of American’s and oneWorld position in Asia. With Qatar Airways also buying an equity stake in Cathay Pacific, oneWorld is becoming a major player in the region. All that is missing is for Qatar to launch their long announced (and delayed) Indian carrier.
What do you think? Do you believe the American flight to Beijing will be a good asset for both carriers? Will AA or CZ launch new routes in order to cooperate further? Let us know!
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