Delta Air Lines is set to resume flights between Seattle and Shanghai on June 25, making it the first US airline to restart operations between the US and China after flights were suspended in February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Seattle-Shanghai flights will operate twice a week in June, with the first one departing Thursday, according to a statement from Delta. Starting July, Delta plans to operate one flight a week from Seattle and Detroit on Thursdays and Fridays respectively — also via Seoul.
Both flights will be flown on an Airbus A350-900 fitted with 306 seats, including 32 Delta One business class suites. The Seattle route will revert back to an Airbus A330-900neo beginning August, which only has 29 Delta One suites but has a Comfort+ cabin — which the A350-900 doesn’t.
In its statement, Delta highlighted the strict safety measures it will be taking to prevent spread of the coronavirus, including “electrostatic spraying” before departure, capping main cabin seating at 60 per cent and the use of “state-of-the-art” air circulation systems.
Wong Hong, Delta’s President for Greater China and Singapore, said, the carrier is “excited to resume our services between the US and China, as economic and social activities start to recover.”
Delta has been hit hard financially by the coronavirus.
A major sign of the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries came last week when the US Department of Transportation said that China and the US would allow American and Chinese carriers, respectively, to schedule four weekly flights between the two countries.
Chinese carriers had also applied for increased services to the US, but the Department of Transportation announced last Friday that it was rejecting those requests to “maintain the parity in scheduled passenger services between US and Chinese carriers.”
United Airlines had also said it was looking to relaunch flights to China in the coming weeks.
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