MIAMI — Delta Air Lines has applied for a once daily flight between Atlanta and Shanghai, China beginning in 2018.

The flight will be operated by the 777-200LR that seats 291 passengers. The aircraft’s configuration is 37 lie-flat Delta One seats, 36 Delta Comfort+ seats, and 218 main cabin seats. Eventually, this route may be operated by the Airbus A350-900.

Just last month, Delta began a route between Atlanta and Seoul, South Korea as part of their expanded partnership with Korean Air.

bastian_edThe new route fulfills a promise Delta CEO Ed Bastian made to Atlanta leaders shortly after taking over at Delta.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, speaking to the Gwinnett County Chamber in 2016, Bastian said “We gotta get the Shanghai flight back for Atlanta. We’re working on that. I’m hoping that the next year or two, that’ll be my personal contribution to the community. Because Atlanta needs Shanghai. Shanghai is the capital of Asia, from my vantage point, for the future.”

“Strong demand for Delta service across the Pacific and to China nonstop from the U.S. as well as our China Eastern partnership make this route compelling for both business and leisure travelers,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to connecting Delta’s hometown and China Eastern’s home with this route, while offering our customers innovative products, thoughtful in-flight service and leading operational reliability.”

“Both global connectivity and maintaining a strong relationship with China are extremely vital to Georgia’s economic landscape,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “This nonstop flight will not only serve our tourism industry by shortening the international travel time, but will bolster our business community as well. The flight will help shorten supply chains for our companies and give them a daily link to China for time-sensitive distribution. I appreciate Delta Air Lines for all of its hard work in making sure that Georgia remains a leader in the global marketplace.”

“Delta is a leading worldwide airline, and connecting Atlanta and Shanghai with direct service is a tremendous step for global commerce and for Georgia,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

“This is a huge win for Georgia jobs and businesses. I’m glad to see Delta leading the charge to connect the U.S. business sector to one of the world’s largest financial hubs in Shanghai,” said U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

“We are pleased that Delta is now offering non-stop service to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, strengthening Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s standing as the world’s busiest and most-efficient passenger airport and a gateway to the world,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “This new direct route will open new business and cultural opportunities between Shanghai and Atlanta, and will support our thriving tourism industry. Currently, China ranks second for visitor volume to Atlanta, and we welcome the new travelers who will be able to come to our city or through our airport with this new direct route.”

The route will launch in June of 2018 and is subject to government approval. The flight will be Delta’s fourth flight from Shanghai, joining existing service to Detroit, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Flight Departs Arrives
DL 185 Atlanta at 3 p.m. Shanghai at 6:50 p.m. (next day)
DL 186 Shanghai at 11:40 a.m. Atlanta at 2:55 p.m.

In 2015, Delta purchased 3.55% of Shanghai based China Eastern Airlines for $450 million dollars. Today’s route announcement fulfills one of the eventual goals of this purchase in connecting more Delta hubs to China Eastern’s network.