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Briefs: Air China expands in U.S.; Cathay adds premium economy

In news of international airlines, Air China announced plans to begin flying to Beijing from a fifth U.S. gateway this summer; Cathay Pacific says its premium economy seating option will be available from all of its U.S. gateways this week; and Alitalia will drop one U.S. route this spring.

  • Air China has set a July 11 start for new non-stop service between Beijing and Houston Bush Intercontinental, subject to government approval. The airline plans to use a 777-300ER on the route, which will initially operate four times a week. Meanwhile, Air China said that on March 31 it will boost New York-Beijing frequencies from seven a week to 11, and will upgrade the equipment on that route to a 777-300ER. The airline’s Los Angeles-Beijing service will resume twice-daily departures starting March 31, and on the same date, Air China will increase capacity between San Francisco and Beijing by putting a 747-400 on the route. On May 17, the carrier will boost its Vancouver-Beijing from seven to 11 flights a week.

  • Cathay Pacific Airways said that on February 1, it will start offering Premium Economy seating on its flights from Chicago O’Hare to Hong Kong. That will make the enhanced seating product available from all four of the airline’s U.S. gateways, which also include New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cathay’s Premium Economy offers 38 inches of pitch (vs. 32 in standard economy), wider seats with greater angles of recline, in-seat power outlets, multi-port connectors, individual video screens, extra stowage space, and priority boarding and check-in.

  • Alitalia’s summer schedule, starting May 12, calls for the elimination of its Newark-Rome service as its consolidates New York-area operations at JFK Airport. The airline’s JFK-Rome schedule will increase from 14 flights a week to 17. Alitalia is a member of Delta’s SkyTeam global alliance.

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