American Airlines has postponed the launch of its planned service between Chicago and Beijing, saying that in contravention of internationally accepted industry practice China's...

American Airlines has postponed the launch of its planned service between Chicago and Beijing, saying that in contravention of internationally accepted industry practice China’s aviation authorities have only offered American commercially inviable slots at Beijing Capital International Airport.

The airline issued the following statement on April 26:


“We regret that we are unable to launch our new, daily, nonstop service from Chicago to Beijing today as planned and will delay start-up tentatively until Tuesday, May 4 (Chicago-Beijing) and Wednesday, May 5 (Beijing-Chicago).

“Simply put, American has not received commercially viable landing and take-off slots for Beijing Capital International Airport from Chinese aviation authorities.

“In line with established International Air Transport Association (IATA) and industry guidelines and procedures which give preferential treatment to new-entrant carriers to a market, American applied for commercially reasonable – and industry accepted – slots at Beijing in October 2009.

Until American Airlines starts taking delivery of up to 100 Boeing 787s which it has ordered, the Boeing 777-200ER is the carrier's primary long-haul aircraft type. American is due to operate up to 54 777-200ERs, each of which it has outfitted to seat 247 passengers in three service classes

“American’s planned flights were sold with the reasonable expectation that, in common with industry practice, viable slots would be confirmed in time for the scheduled start date of the new service, which had been approved by the governments of both the United States and China.

“Until American receives viable operating slots, we will not be able to fly between Chicago and Beijing and thus cannot deliver air transportation services to the American and Chinese people. We are proactively delaying the start of our flight from Chicago to Beijing until May 4, 2010, and we are hopeful that the slot issue can be resolved by that time.

“Meanwhile, American is rebooking customers on other flights to assist them in getting to their destination. Customers are being offered full refunds or the opportunity to travel on American at a later date.

American Airlines apologizes for the inconvenience that this situation has caused our customers and hopes that the issue of slots at Beijing can be quickly resolved.”