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Old 02-26-2010, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
442 posts, read 733,421 times
Reputation: 570
Question Why no non-stop flights to China?

I travel a lot and I'm wondering why there are no non-stop flights from Houston to anywhere in China? In fact, the only Asian non-stop is to Narita (japan) on Continental. Given the huge asian, particuarly chinese, population in Houston this surprises me.

Can't be the distance. Houston to Beijing is only 7200 miles...easily shorter than the current Houston to Dubai route on Emirates (around 8200 miles).

I believe DFW has a nonstop to Seoul South korea on korean air but, again, nothing to China.

I would think IAH or DFW could swing a Chinese nonstop given the connections available from houston and dallas to central/south american cities.

Any thoughts? I'm guessing there is some type of FAA restriction on Chinese flights or Chinese government restriction.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Cinco Dinero
660 posts, read 1,108,470 times
Reputation: 760
??? Why no non-stop flights to Spokane, WA? It's only 2200 mi. Plenty of people here from western cities.

I fly there regulary...

Gee, I guess it's what the market demands...

Unless of course there's an FAA restriction on WA... or those crazy WA laws???

Sorry, don't know the answer... other than... because there isn't!
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
442 posts, read 733,421 times
Reputation: 570
Hmm...Spokane WA vs Beijing China? There are 17 million people in Beijing alone...and probably more Chinese people in Houston than the grand total population of Spokane. What say you of demand?

I know your post was in jest but just had to make that point...

My gripe is that it takes me 24-26 hours to get to China currently...a nonstop flight would have me there in 14-16. 10 hours means a lot when you are cramped on a plane!
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:46 PM
 
904 posts, read 734,023 times
Reputation: 484
A few reasons:

1) The current U.S.-China flight agreement restricts the number of non-stop flights to China the U.S. government can grant to U.S. airlines each year. I think going into 2008, the U.S. was only allowed to award one or two flights a year. Back in 2007, the U.S. and China agrees to double the number of flights. New deal: U.S.-China flights to double by 2012 - USATODAY.com

Because of the restrictions, the DOT usually awards the flights to certain markets and airlines. Because Continental (the likely choice to do a flight out of Houston) has gotten service to Beijing and Shanghai out of its Newark hub, they likely had to wait to allow other carriers who don't have two flights to get their flights. Also, airlines will make sure they can generate the maximum revenues of these flights since they have such restrictions.

2) Flights, international ones, are profitable from yields (the amount of money airline makes on each passenger for every mile), not load numbers (passenger of %). Basically, it's amount of business passengers (the guys and girls flying in first and business class and not on upgraded tickets) is what will determine the success of a route. I believe the CEO of Cathay Pacific has said that it takes about 20 economy class passengers to cover the revenue that 1 first class passenger generates (from NY to Hong Kong). Bottom line, you could have a full economy class, but if you don't have strong numbers in the premium classes, it won't work.

I do believe that the longer the flight, the harder it is to make it profitable. Hopefully the 787s will help make it easier.

3) South Korea and the U.S. have an open skies agreement. Plus, Korean Air has a great hub and route system in Seoul to connect its passengers.

4) I believe all North America-Asia flights fly up and over the North Pole (Great Circle route). It isn't a straight shot from Houston-to-China like you would think.

(I do think CO could do a Houston-China flight successfully).
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX (Oak Forest)
3,502 posts, read 6,839,959 times
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Only reason we have a non-stop to Dubai is oil business. American oil companies don't drill in China so Houston airlines don't fly to China I suppose.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
442 posts, read 733,421 times
Reputation: 570
Thanks, Wolfpacker...makes sense! I'm guessing within the next 10 years there will be a nonstop Chinese option once the 787 is out in full force and as China continues to own more and more of the US (via our debt) in conjunction with Houston's worldwide importance as an energy city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_ut View Post
Only reason we have a non-stop to Dubai is oil business. American oil companies don't drill in China so Houston airlines don't fly to China I suppose.

The Dubai flight is, of course, due to energy relations between the cities. However, China is a major purchaser of fossil fuels (and growing faster than any other country) produced by many companies based in Houston. For this reason, and because of the large aforementioned Chinese population in Houston (look at how big "Chinatown" has become) Houston deserves a Chinese nonstop route!
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:52 PM
 
1,474 posts, read 2,525,393 times
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Houston makes a lousy port of entry
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:06 PM
hsw
 
2,066 posts, read 4,071,360 times
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Actually, there are plenty of smart, billionaire hedge fund guys like Chanos (who was one of first to analyze Enron as a fraud) who view China as a similar Bubble/fraud waiting to burst....a billion+ people w/very little own innovation, awful demographics and a politically unstable structure (like Russia or Mideast oil monarchies), utterly dependent upon US consumer buying their "cheap" junk and forced to recycle dollars by buying US Treasuries (much like Japan in '80s)

Absolutely, business traveler ultimately makes any flt route profitable

But need to know if Houston energy cos. do much business in China itself....and how many execs/engineers who manage a distant region live/work in that region, only occasionally (?3-4 times/yr) traveling back to Houston for mtgs w/senior execs at global HQ (and realize many cos. keep their Asia regional HQs in places like HK or Singapore or Tokyo or elsewhere in region)

And many major cos., if enough execs are traveling same route for an important mtg, will use own corporate air force, as many offices and industrial sites are distant from usual intl airports needed by commercial jumbo jets

Also, in past 2-3 yrs, many major industries like tech and finance have cut much air travel (esp for internal mtgs) as Net and videoconferencing is vastly more efficient (time&money) in modern globalized age....actually flying somewhere for a mtg is Luddite stuff, except for rare, major sales visits (when it's usu top execs on a private, corporate bird anyway)
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
442 posts, read 733,421 times
Reputation: 570
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveArmy View Post
Houston makes a lousy port of entry
Why do you say that? I've only had very positive experiences entering the US from IAH...and I've probably been in and out at least 30 times over the past 5 years mainly on British Airways from Heathrow. Very modern and well kept entry area, well thought out organization etc.

I've had dreadful experiences at LAX, EWR and JFK. EWR is the worst IMO.

I will say, however, leaving Ireland or the UK in mid July where it is pleasant and in the 50s-70sF and arriving in Houston to mind blowing heat and humidity is rather unpleasant!
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:20 PM
Status: "Character is what you do when no one is looking..." (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
20,116 posts, read 19,843,115 times
Reputation: 45388
Flights to China are darn cheap now... ~$750 RT

BTW: Houston International is a nice airport. Never had any problems or bad experiences there. You should comment on Newark.....
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