United Airlines has announced that it has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a one year delay for the launch of a nonstop service between San Francisco and Guangzhou.
The new route was originally planned to open in June this year. The delay is one of the hard choices United Airlines has made as a result of today's oil prices of in excess of US$110 a barrel. United Airlines said that the oil price was an average of US$72 a barrel when it applied for to open the route. Because of the increase in oil prices, the company faces cost increases of more than $2 billion.
According to original plan, the new Guangzhou service would have been United's sixth daily nonstop service between China and the US. With the launch of the Guangzhou service, United would have served three cities in mainland China and 14 in the Asia-Pacific region.