Business / Industries

More direct US-Chengdu flights in pipeline

By Colin Simpson ( Updated: 2014-10-16 11:03

More tourists and business travelers could soon be flying nonstop between the US and Chengdu if discussions between the city's airport and international carriers prove successful.

A delegation from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport traveled to the World Routes aviation forum in Chicago at the end of September to open talks with airlines — and Washington DC and New York are among the cities the booming industrial powerhouse is targeting.

On June 9 a United Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner took off from San Francisco en route to Chengdu, the first direct scheduled flight from the US to Central China.

The route, with three flights a week, is the first nonstop service from the US to the Chinese mainland beyond Beijing and Shanghai. United is the first US airline to serve Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Previously, US passengers flying there had to make at least one stopover. Travelling via a hub such as Beijing or Shanghai and then taking an internal flight to Chengdu could take 18 hours or more, while the direct service cuts that to 14 hours.

"Having only one city in the US is not enough, we really want to have more destinations there," said Yan Yuhua, the manager of Chengdu airport's aviation market department, who led the delegation to Chicago. "We will talk to more US airlines to try to attract them to Chengdu to give us more destinations in the US. We hope we can have more routes like New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles. San Francisco is not enough."

Chengdu's airport, with 33.4 million passengers in 2013, is China's fifth busiest.

More direct US-Chengdu flights in pipeline More direct US-Chengdu flights in pipeline
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