Delta and United to resume China flights

US carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are planning to restart passenger flights to mainland China in June, four months after all routes were suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Delta intends to offer daily service to Shanghai Pudong (PVG) from both its Detroit (DTW) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) hubs, subject to government approval.

OAG Schedules Analyser data shows flights from DTW will begin on June 1 using Airbus A350-900 aircraft, with SEA-PVG resuming the same day on board A330-900neo. The network additions mean the SkyTeam alliance member will operate 7,350 two-way weekly seats between the US and China.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic Delta operated six routes between the US and China, linking DTW and SEA with Beijing (PEK) and PVG, as well as flying from Atlanta (ATL) and Los Angeles (LAX) to PVG. In total it provided about 21,300 weekly seats.

The Atlanta-based carrier’s planned service resumption to China forms part of a wider network expansion during June, with destinations in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America returning to its schedule. This will add approximately 100 more daily flights to Delta’s timetable next month compared to May.

Routes that will resume in June include ATL to Bogota (BOG) and Lagos (LOS); and New York John F Kennedy (JFK) to Amsterdam (AMS), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Tel Aviv (TLV). Delta said overall its second quarter schedule would be 85% smaller than last year, with reductions of 80% in US domestic capacity and 90% internationally.

As well as Delta’s plans to resume passenger service to China, OAG schedules data shows that United is also planning to restart US-China flights. From June 4 the Star Alliance member intends to fly daily to PVG from San Francisco (SFO) and New York Newark (EWR) using Boeing 787-9 and 777-300ER aircraft respectively. Daily service between SFO and PEK on board 787-9 will also begin on the same day.

United operated nine routes between the US and China prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, providing more than 32,000 two-way weekly seats.

Photo credit: United Airlines

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.