In 2006, Shanghaiist prayed for a direct flight connecting the United States’ east coast to Shanghai. Hell, we even signed a petition to the FAA. But the travel god(s) turned a deaf ear to our pleading, and awarded the precious route to Washington, DC/Beijing. Bummer! But an announcement made yesterday after a two day summit between the senior American and Chinese finance ministers has rekindled our hope. To accommodate surging trade and air traffic between the two nations, the US and China have reached a broad based agreement to open more direct passenger and cargo routes. According to the Houston Business Journal:
Under the agreement announced Wednesday, starting this year, U.S. carriers will be able to operate 13 new daily flights to China within five years. One new flight will be awarded this year and one in 2008, four new flights will be awarded in 2009, three more in 2010, and two each in 2011 and 2012.
Yes! Maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to board a direct flight to Jerz this Christmas, but then we read this:
Industry experts say it is likely that the 2007 award will go to a new entrant that doesn’t already have service to China. [Newark has a direct flight to Beijing] The 2008 routes must go to Guanzhou, just across the Mainland China border from Hong Kong.
Grrrr! Looks like 2009 at the earliest. Check back in two years for updates.