MIAMI — American Airlines has attempted to block Air China’s application for the renewal of its Beijing-Houston exemption authority, citing unfair treatment by Chinese authorities in the allocation of slots at Chinese airports to US carriers.
In a filing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT), previously reported by FlightGlobal, American Airlines states that China’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) rejected its request for slots at Beijing Capital International Airport, for its proposed non-stop service from Los Angeles. Last November, the DOT awarded American Airlines the rights to operate a daily flight, beating out rival Delta Air Lines for these slots.
In previous applications, American said CAAC offered the carrier “commercially non-viable times,” but now the Chinese regulator refused to provide any slots. The airline says that this decision is a protectionist move aimed to ensure Air China’s monopoly on the route.
“By denying American the same opportunity to introduce Los Angeles-Beijing service in a timely manner, the CAAC has acted to preserve Air China’s non-stop monopoly on this route, to the detriment of the U.S. traveling public, U.S. carriers, and the U.S. Government,” it said. “By impeding the development of new U.S.-China services by U.S. carriers, the CAAC’s actions reward Chinese carriers with a competitive advantage in U.S.-China service at the expense of the United States, which agreed to provide valuable bilateral benefits to Chinese carriers in return for these rights for U.S. carriers.”
American further stated that until such time that CAAC provides it with commercially viable slots, it would continue to object to applications for exemption authority filed by Air China and other Chinese carriers.