The US major intends to utilise its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on a proposed three times weekly link effective from June 9, 2014. If approved, the city will be the ninth destination the carrier serves in the Asia/Pacific region nonstop from San Francisco.
In its formal application to the US DOT United says the award of authority to serve the route will provide substantial benefits to the US public with flying times of approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound shaving nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities.
United’s proposed new service will be the first ever scheduled air link between the US mainland and interior points in China with the San Francisco – Chengdu city pair exactly the type of direct market that US and Chinese Governments envisioned when they previously made amendments to the bilateral air services agreement between the two countries to promote connectivity. Due to this, United says its plans are “clearly in the public interest”.
According to United, the Chengdu service will further boost its San Francisco hub and will “maximise connecting service options for consumers, facilitate the development of additional trade and tourism between San Francisco and China” and provide similar benefits throughout its San Francisco hub network.
United already offers direct flights from San Francisco to both Beijing and Shanghai, while Air China links the US west coast city with Beijing and China Eastern Airlines has flights from Shanghai. The US major currently serves eight routes between the US and China with additional flights to China’s two largest cities from Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington.