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July 23 2024 / 04:51 PM
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Simple Flying
Major airlines like Air China, Delta Air Lines, & United Airlines expanded routes & frequencies

As the aviation industry continues to recover from the global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of flights between China and the United States in the summer of 2024 has significantly increased compared to the previous year, even though it is still far from the pre-pandemic levels. In this article,  the airlines operating the most flights between China and the United States in the upcoming summer of 2024 will be analyzed, based on data from cirium.com.

Before begin, the readers should know that following the end of the pandemic, civil aviation authorities in China and the US have been gradually increasing the number of direct flights between the two countries based on reciprocal standards. The latest increase occurred on March 31 this year, when the FAA approved Chinese mainland airlines to operate 50 round-trip flights per week between China and the US. Similarly, US airlines can apply for 50 weekly direct flights to mainland China. Unless otherwise applied for, airlines cannot arbitrarily change flight origins, destinations, dates, or the number of flights.

 

TimeframeTotal Number of Weekly Round-trip Flights Between China and the US
Before the pandemicOver 300

During the pandemic

From the outbreak of the pandemic to Feb 2020From around 350 to a single digit (only one flight on the least busy day)
June 2020 - August 20208
August 2020 - May 3, 202316

Post-pandemic

May 3, 2023 - Sep 1, 202324
Sep 1, 2023 - Oct 29, 202336
Oct 29, 2023 - Nov 9, 202348
Nov 9, 2023 - Mar 31, 202470
Mar 31, 2024 - Present (Jun 22, 2024)100

 

To date, Chinese mainland airlines have used all 50 round-trip flight slots. Of the 50 slots available to US airlines, 39 have been confirmed, meaning that before the summer, US airlines can still choose to add flights from the US to mainland China, with 11 round-trip slots available for application.

 

Air China – 14 round-trip flights per week

Since March 31, when China and the US mutually agreed to increase the maximum number of weekly regular passenger flights operated by airlines from both countries from 35 round trips to 50, Air China has announced it will add three more direct round-trip flights per week between China and the US. This brings Air China's total number of direct round-trip flights between China and the US to 14 per week, maintaining its position as the airline with the highest number of weekly direct flights between the two countries.

Among these, the Beijing-New York CA981 flight will add flights on Fridays and Sundays, and the New York-Beijing CA982 flight will add flights on Mondays and Saturdays. The Beijing-Los Angeles-Beijing CA983/4 flight will add flights on Mondays.

As a result, the number of flights between Beijing and New York will increase to five per week; flights between Beijing and Los Angeles will increase to four per week; flights between Beijing and San Francisco and between Beijing and Washington will each be two per week; and the Shenzhen-Los Angeles flight will be one per week.

 

Delta Air Lines – 14 round-trip flights per week

After March 31, Delta Air Lines announced that starting from May 23, 2024, it will increase the number of direct flights between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Detroit (DTW) from three times per week to daily.

Currently, Delta Air Lines operates the following direct flights between China and the US: Shanghai Pudong to Seattle daily, and Shanghai Pudong to Detroit daily.

Delta's Shanghai-Detroit flights will be operated by its international flagship aircraft, the Airbus A350-900, while the Shanghai-Seattle flights will be operated by Delta's newest wide-body aircraft, the Airbus A330-900neo.

 

United Airlines – 14 round-trip flights per week

After March 31, United Airlines announced that starting from August 29 this year, it will add four weekly direct flights from Shanghai to Los Angeles, and further increase this to daily flights from late October. This route is operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft. United Airlines currently operates daily flights from Shanghai to San Francisco and from Beijing to San Francisco.

Additionally, United Airlines announced that in addition to the current two daily direct flights from Hong Kong to San Francisco and one daily direct flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, the direct flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles will be increased to two daily flights starting October 26, operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft. However, the number of flights from Hong Kong to the US does not count towards the limit of 50 weekly round-trip flights negotiated between China and the US for mainland China and the US.

 

China Eastern Airlines – 12 round-trip flights per week

After March 31, China Eastern Airlines added three more direct round-trip flights between China and the US. The flight schedule for China Eastern Airlines between China and the US until October 26, 2024, is as follows:

Shanghai Pudong to New York Kennedy: Operates two times a week.

Shanghai Pudong to Los Angeles: Operates daily.

Shanghai Pudong to San Francisco: Operates two times a week.

 

China Southern Airlines – 10 round-trip flights per week

After March 31, China Southern Airlines also added three more direct round-trip flights between China and the US. The flight schedule for China Southern Airlines between China and the US until October 26, 2024, is as follows:

Guangzhou to New York JFK: Operates on Thursdays, using Boeing 777-300.

Guangzhou to Los Angeles: Operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, using Boeing 777-300.

Wuhan to San Francisco: Operates on Mondays and Thursdays, using Boeing 777-300/787.

Guangzhou to San Francisco: Operates on Tuesdays and Saturdays, using Boeing 777-300.

Additionally, China Southern Airlines recently launched direct flights between Shenzhen and Mexico City, operating twice a week. This route is currently the longest in China and the seventh-longest direct passenger flight in the world.

 

American Airlines: – 7 round-trip flights per week

American Airlines ranks third among US airlines in terms of the number of direct flights between China and the US, behind United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It operates only one route between China and the US, which is the Dallas to Shanghai Pudong route, with one round-trip flight daily.

 

Hainan Airlines – 6 round-trip flights per week

Hainan Airlines operates the Beijing Capital to Boston route, which is currently the only direct flight between China and Boston. Additionally, Hainan Airlines operates a Chongqing to Seattle route, the only direct flight between a major city in Southwest China, Chongqing, and the US. Recently, Hainan Airlines established its international headquarters in Chongqing.

 

Xiamen Airlines – 5 round-trip flights per week

Xiamen Airlines operates direct flights between Xiamen and Los Angeles, as well as Fuzhou and New York Kennedy. These are the only direct flights from Xiamen and Fuzhou to the US, respectively.

 

Sichuan Airlines – 3 round-trip flights per week

Sichuan Airlines operates a direct flight between Chengdu Tianfu and Los Angeles, which is the only direct flight between the major city of Chengdu in Southwest China and the US.

 

AirlinesNumber of round-trip flights per week between China and the US
Air ChinaChina14
United AirlinesUS14 (4 more from August 30, another 3 more from October 31)
Delta Air Line14
China Eastern AirlinesChina12
China Southern Airlines10
American AirlinesUS7
Hainan AirlinesChina6
Xiamen Airlines5
Sichuan Airlines3
* Chinese airlines total: 50 / US airlines total: 35 (39 from August 30th, 42 from October 31st)
Jun 26, 2024

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