In a bid to consolidate its position in China, United Airlines - the wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings Inc.UAL - announced plans to initiate non-stop weekly flights between San Francisco and Xi'an, starting next year.
The premier U.S. carrier is currently waiting for approval from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Once the proposal is sanctioned, United Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to launch trans-Pacific operations to Xi'an.
Under this new plan, flights from San Francisco International Airport will take off at 1:25 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and reach Xi'an at 5:30 p.m. (local timings) the following day, taking roughly 13 hours and 5 minutes to cover the distance.
United Airlines will operate three flights a week between May 8 and Oct 27, 2016 to Xi'an. The carrier will fly The Boeing Co.'s BA 787 wide-bodied Dreamliner jets on the route which boast better leg space, larger windows, bigger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and improved ventilation systems. Moreover, the jets offer operating efficiency and lower fuel emissions.
At present, United Airlines possesses 19 such Dreamliner jets and is scheduled to add six more by the end of 2015.
The company has been enjoying a strong presence in China since 1986 and offers more non-stop flights in the nation than any other carrier. United Airlines has also extended its bilateral codeshare agreement with Air China by introducing 22 new air routes between the U.S. and China.
We believe that continuous route expansion in China coupled with extended codeshare agreements will drive considerable top-line growth for the company.
United Continental currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other favorably ranked stocks in the same space include SkyWest Inc. SKYW and JetBlue Airways Corp. JBLU . Both the companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days.Click to get this free report >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report