American Airlines will discontinue its Chicago-Beijing
service on Oct. 20, citing strong competition on the route.
"The current fare environment severely limits our
ability to successfully compete between Chicago and Beijing," said Vasu
Raja, American's vice president of network and schedule planning. "We
remain committed to China and anticipate that moving to the new Beijing airport
in the future will improve the viability of the route through the additional
connectivity in conjunction with our codeshare relationship with China Southern
in the long run."
American competes with Hainan and United in the
Chicago-Beijing market, and while Guangzhou-based China Southern has a hub at
Beijing Capital Airport, it is not as large as the Beijing operation of United's
codeshare partner, Air China.
Beijing's airport capacity will get an enormous boost with
the opening of the first terminal of the Beijing Daxing Airport, which is
scheduled for late next year. The terminal will have an annual capacity of 45
American said it has petitioned the Department of
Transportation for a dormancy waiver, which would enable AA to retain its rights to the Chicago-Beijing route.
U.S. carriers have met the limit for the combined number of
flights that they can fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou under the
U.S.-China aviation agreement.