OK, we’ve never heard of East Star Airlines before, but it has just become the first private airline in China to be authorized to operate international flights. A Xinhua report tells us that under Civil Aviation Administration of China regulations, new airlines may apply to operate international flights only after three years of operations. East Star has been in business less than two years, but it beat rivals Okair, Ueair, Juneyao Airlines and Spring Airlines to be the first. Hmm… we wonder what made them bend those rules!
Before you start planning those holidays though, East Star is based out of Wuhan, and it remains unclear from the news just yet if the airline will operate international flights out of Wuhan, or other more established hubs such as Guangzhou or Shanghai.
In other airline news, at least six major U.S. airlines have asked federal regulators for the right to operate new nonstop flights between China and the US beginning in March 2009. Here they are in no particular order and the routes they’ve applied for:
1. American Airlines (Chicago – Beijing)
2. Continental (Newark, N.J. – Shanghai)
3. US Airways (Philadelphia – Beijing)
4. Delta Airlines (Atlanta – Beijing & Shanghai)
5. Northwest (Detroit – Beijing & Shanghai)
6. United Airlines (San Francisco – Guangzhou, Los Angeles – Shanghai)
We sure hope this means cheaper flights for us all soon. Let the good times roll!
Picture from sina.com