New Texas-China Air Travel Routes Likely to Boost Trade

In addition to enjoying increasing influence as an economic powerhouse, China has been identified as the world’s fastest-growing air travel market, information which no doubt played a role in the establishment by American Airlines of direct routes between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and two destinations in China – Hong Kong and Shanghai. American Airlines became the world’s largest airline following its December merger with US Airways, but was lagging behind competing US airlines, Delta and United, with regard to services to Asian destinations, including Japan and China.

In a reported interview, American Airlines chief marketing officer and senior vice president, Andrew Nocella, noted that the international carrier needed to ‘catch up’ and will be investigating opportunities this year, as well as into the future. He also noted that American Airlines is adding the new routes because there is money to be made in them.

North Texas officials believe there is money to be made from the new routes as well. When the announcement regarding the proposed routes between D/FW and Shanghai and D/FW and Hong Kong was made in October 2013, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings predicted that they would make a significant economic impact on the North Texas region. In addition to the business aspect of travel between the stated destinations, he drew attention to the fact that a large number of Chinese students attend colleges and universities in the area. According to the Open Doors Report by the non-profit Institute of International Education, Texas ranks third in the US with regard to numbers of international students, including those from China. Moreover, professors from the University of Texas business school have been teaching executive MBA classes in China for more than a decade now. Direct travel is hugely advantageous for these frequent flyers.

For wholesalers and retailers in North Texas that stock Made-in-China goods, direct flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong make economic sense, and having an additional airline covering these routes could result in more competitive travel pricing. President of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Gal Jumaoas, noted that a number of the chamber’s small-business members travel between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and China on a regular basis to establish business connections, and that they are excited about the new American Airlines routes.