US carriers look for more US-China routes

Several US airlines are pushing for more nonstop routes between the US and China, beginning in March 2009. And they're also going straight to the customer for help - most of them have designed separate websites highlighting their bids and are asking fliers to help out by signing petitions that will be presented to the Department of Transportation. Here are the airlines:
  • American Airlines filed an application on Monday to start nonstop Chicago O'Hare - Beijing service, to start on March 25, 2009. (This isn't the first time American has tried to do this - a few months ago it filed a similar petition but failed because it couldn't agree with its pilots on work rules for the rather long flights.)
  • Continental Airlines wants to fly between Newark and Shanghai starting on March 25, 2009.
  • Delta Air Lines applied for Atlanta-Beijing and Atlanta-Shanghai service.
  • MAXjet quietly filed for Seattle-Shanghai service, with a continuing flight from Seattle to Los Angeles.
  • Northwest Airlines wants to fly Detroit-Beijing and Detroit-Shanghai.
  • United Airlines is seeking San Francisco-Guangzhou service in 2008 and Los Angeles-Shanghai service in 2009.
  • US Airways has proposed flying between Philadelphia and Beijing.
The Department of Transportation can only allow one new airline to enter the US-China nonstop market each year. Currently, all of the above airlines except Delta, MAXjet and US Airways serve China nonstop - a fact that might give them a bit of a competitive edge. My prediction: the Continental and Delta proposals will pass, mostly because there isn't any New York area-Shanghai service and Atlanta/the southeastern US are also underserved when it comes to nonstop US-China flights. United Airlines will also probably get at least one of their routes, too.