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U.S. Airline Applies for Wuhan, China Service

An Eastern Airlines 767 in the new livery. (Photo: Eastern Airlines)

Wayne, Penn.-based Eastern Airlines is looking to add service between New York (JFK) and Wuhan, China, per a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) filing. This comes after the low-cost airline scrapped plans for a JFK to Shanghai (PVG) flight following a lengthy approval process, according to Ishrion Aviation on Twitter. The carrier had also applied to fly between JFK and Jinan, China (TNA) in 2019, but never operated the route.

According to planespotters.net, the carrier currently has 15 aircraft in service, including 12 767-series airplanes and three 777s. Eastern regularly flies between its hub in Miami and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, but primarily provides charter flights.

As part of the Tuesday filing, Eastern is applying to fly from JFK to Wuhan via Anchorage. If approved, the service is scheduled to start in January 2024. It is unclear whether the carrier will sell seats on the JFK-Anchorage segment.

“Granting Eastern the requested authority will greatly benefit the public interest. Eastern will increase the availability of “adequate, economic, efficient, and low-priced services” for both domestic and foreign travelers on a route currently served by no U.S. Carriers,” the filing states. “Eastern’s new service would also provide U.S. government employees and contractors service to Wuhan on a U.S. carrier, which currently does not exist.”

Previous Service to Wuhan

China Southern operated flights between San Francisco and Wuhan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, according to Cirium data. The Chinese carrier has also applied to resume this service, which would start on Nov. 4, 2023.

Eastern’s proposed service would be a first as no U.S. airline has operated regularly scheduled service to Wuhan. Seen around the world as an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Wuhan is starting to see more air service after being largely shuttered. According to Cirium data, Wuhan’s main airport is expected to see a 17% increase in flight operations between October 2019 and 2023.

AirlineGeeks.com Staff


  • AirlineGeeks.com Staff

    AirlineGeeks.com was founded in February 2013 as a one-person blog in Washington D.C. Since then, we’ve grown to have 25+ active team members scattered across the globe. We are all here for the same reason: we love deep-diving into the fascinating realm of the airline industry.

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