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U.S.-China Flights to Increase to 70 Round Trips Weekly

A round up of the latest Chinese airline filings with a few scheduling quirks.

An Air China 747-8i at San Francisco International Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recently approved increasing the weekly frequency of U.S.-China flights by Chinese carriers to 35 on October 26. The latest update means the total flights between the U.S. and China will grow to 70 per week based on the bilateral agreements. The new cap will take effect on November 9. 

Chinese Carriers have started submitting proposals for the winter season.

Air China

The national flag carrier currently operates eight weekly flights between the U.S. and China. All its Beijing-originated flights will depart from Beijing Capital International Airport. 

  • Beijing to Los Angeles – twice weekly 
  • Beijing to New York JFK, New York JFK to Los Angeles, then Beijing – three times weekly
  • Beijing to San Francisco – twice weekly
  • Shenzhen to Los Angeles – once weekly

In its latest application, the airline is adding yet another circle route.

  • Beijing to Washington Dulles and returning via Los Angeles twice weekly on Tuesday and Saturday
  • An additional Thursday from Beijing to Los Angeles 

The present schedule plus the proposed flights will mount to eight weekly flights from Los Angeles to Beijing. The Beijing-based carrier has a total of 11 weekly flights planned for the winter season.

China Eastern Airlines

A China Eastern 777 turns onto the runway in Los Angeles. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

China Eastern operates the second most flights of any Chinese carrier. It operates seven weekly flights to various U.S. gateways from Shanghai Pudong International Airport. 

  • Shanghai to Los Angeles – thrice weekly
  • Shanghai to New York JFK – twice weekly
  • Shanghai to San Francisco – twice weekly

It intends to increase frequency on the Los Angeles route, according to its filing.

  • Two additional Shanghai to Los Angeles flights on Mondays and Saturdays

The Shanghai-based carrier will operate a total of nine flights if approved by the DOT.

China Southern Airlines

A China Southern Airlines Boeing 777-300ER departing from Los Angeles airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

China Southern has six weekly frequencies approved under the current regulation. 

  • Guangzhou to Los Angeles – four times weekly
  • Guangzhou to New York JFK – once weekly
  • Wuhan to San Francisco – once weekly

The Guangzhou-based carrier plans to add one additional flight in its application.

The carrier will operate a total of seven flights if approved by the department.

Hainan Airlines

A Hainan 787 Dreamliner in Los Angeles (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Hainan Airlines has undoubtedly been anxious about restarting its U.S. routes. It had applied for twelve weekly frequencies in the last application cycle but was granted none of its proposed routes. It had only proposed one route with a limited frequency in hopes of a better chance for approval this time. 

  • Beijing Capital to Boston – three times weekly

Interestingly, the application stated the return flight will have a technical stop in Seattle. Its previous schedules did not include a technical stop for the Boston flight. It’s unclear what caused the addition of a tech stop or if the Haikou, China-based airline will follow Air China’s footsteps and apply for an exemption to tag along traffic from Seattle to Beijing. 

Other Chinese Airlines

A Xiamen 787 taxis in Amsterdam. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Xiamen Airlines currently operates three times weekly between Xiamen and Los Angeles. It has yet to file for new routes at the time of writing. The last two airlines authorized to fly to the U.S. are Beijing Capital Airlines and Sichuan Airlines. Neither has filed to restart U.S. service for recent rounds of bidding. 

As it stands, the proposed schedule will fill 33 of the 35 slots.

Editor’s Note: AirlineGeeks will update the post as more details enter the docket before November 9.

Fangzhong Guo


  • Fangzhong Guo

    Fangzhong grew up near an OEM airport in northeastern China, where he developed his enthusiasm for aviation. Taking upon his passion, he's now working as an aircraft interior design engineer. Besides working in the aerospace industry, Fangzhong enjoys trying out different types of airplanes and seeing how airplane interiors have evolved. So far, he's flown on over 80 types of aircraft. He also planespots in his spare time. His rarest catches included the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and AN-225.

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