Have you heard of Wuhan, China? You know, the city of 10 million people in Hubei province?
If you have been wanting to go there, I have good news for you. China Southern Airlines has asked the U.S. government for permission to fly between Wuhan and San Francisco beginning in December 2014. China Southern would use new Boeing 787-8 aircraft and fly three times per week. Technically, the service will start in Guangzhou and make a stop in Wuhan.
As China Southern's application makes clear, this is a big deal, at least if you follow this stuff closely. For now, Chinese airlines only fly to the United States from three Mainland cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But times are changing. Chinese airlines want to open up new routes, just as United Airlines will do later this month when it launches thrice weekly flights between Francisco and Chengdu. We'll likely see a bunch of new Chinese cities get nonstop service to the United States in the coming years.
Here are some interesting tidbits from China Southern's filing:
- "According to China Southern’s estimates, the fuel burn for its first year of Boeing 787-8 roundtrip services will total approximately 7.436 million gallons."
- "China Southern reasonably projects that it will carry approximately 60,000 passengers between Guangzhou/Wuhan and San Francisco during the first year of operations and the route will generate income of approximately $54 million during that period."
- "With a fleet of over 600 aircraft and service to over 200 global destinations, China Southern ranks as the largest Asian air carrier in terms of passengers carried, and is among the 10 largest airlines in the world."
- "China Southern’s B-787-8 aircraft are configured with 228 seats in three classes." Four seats in first class, 24 in business and 200 in economy.
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