After a nearly six-month suspension of commercial flights to China, United Airlines has announced that it will be resuming its US-China routes. The company said on Monday that it would be lifting the suspension it implemented in February after positive cases of the coronavirus had begun to appear in the country.
According to a statement, the company will resume service for customers wishing to travel from the US to China and vice versa on July 8. Service will be limited to two flights per week, between San Francisco and Shanghai's Pudong International Airport. The particular route will have a stopover in Seoul, South Korea.
United Airlines is the second major US carrier to resume its US-China passenger flights. Last week, Delta Air Lines officially restarted its flights between the US and China with two flights to Shanghai and back. One flight will leave from Seattle and the other leaving from Detroit. Both flights will also have stopovers in South Korea.
For United Airlines, its flights will only be departing from San Francisco to Shanghai on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Passengers traveling from China can board flights to San Francisco from Shanghai on Thursdays and Sundays. United Airlines will be using its Boeing 777-300ER airplanes for both flights.
United's vice-president of International Network and Alliances, Patrick Quayle, noted in a statement that the company's flights to mainland China are a point of pride in its 30-year history. The company considers the resumption of its US-China routes as a significant step forward in its efforts to rebuild its international network. Before the coronavirus pandemic, United Airlines was the US' largest carrier serving flights to and from China.
Apart from restarting its US-China flights, United Airlines also announced that it will be resuming its service to several other countries in Asia. This includes its flights to Tokyo, South Korea, and Singapore via Hong Kong.
The decision to resume passenger flights to and from China comes as both countries have agreed to allow a maximum of four weekly flights between their international airports. The agreement is part of a larger effort to gradually ease travel restrictions between the two nations in order to encourage economic recovery.
Other major US carriers are expected to follow suit in the coming months. American Airlines, which had suspended its US-China flights in February, had announced plans to restart its flights from Dallas to Beijing and Shanghai and flights from Los Angeles to Beijing and Shanghai sometime in October.