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Delta to start Shanghai-Detroit flights in June
By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-05-09 07:44

Delta Air Lines, the world's largest airline, on Friday said it was hopeful that its strong presence in China would help offset the bigger losses in other regions, according to a top corporate executive.

Sandeep Bahl, general manager of Delta Air Lines China, told China Daily on Friday that the company would start the non-stop services from Shanghai to Detroit as scheduled in June, on a daily basis. This will increase Delta's China flights from three per day to four.

The other three flights are the non-stop service from Shanghai to Atlanta launched in 2008 and the flights to Tokyo from Shanghai and Beijing.

The Shanghai-Detroit flights come at a time when most of the American carriers are wary of opening new routes due to the financial crisis.

Carriers like United Airlines, which runs the most routes in China, American Airlines and US Airways have delayed plans for new routes this year. Continental Airlines is the only other carrier other than Delta to buck the trend by launching the non-stop Shanghai-New York route in March.

"The Chinese business has excellent potential for growth and that is why we are adding new flights," Bahl said.

While the financial crisis does pose difficulties, it also offers excellent opportunities for the Chinese market, he said.

Delta's China business is still "small" in the global pie and ranks second to Japan in the Asia-Pacific region. The Delta global network operates more than 600 flights everyday.

Richard Anderson, chief executive officer, Delta, had in January during a visit to Shanghai said the carrier was confident of boosting its presence in China.

The integration with Northwest last year has enhanced Delta's network and gives it the ability to score over other peers, said Bahl.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines agreed to merge last April, and the new entity is still called Delta. The integration is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


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