Delta Air Lines Inc. restarted service to China June 25, launching flights to Shanghai from Seattle with a stopover in Seoul-Incheon.
With the new service, Delta became the first U.S. carrier to reconnect the U.S. with China; it had suspended service in January.
For a time in June, the Atlanta-based airline was caught in the middle of a bilateral dispute that saw the U.S. pressuring China to allow American carriers more access in line with their aviation agreement. China obliged by allowing each U.S. carrier one flight per week.
Starting this month, Delta also plans to bring Detroit service to Shanghai back online, also via South Korea.
No word yet on when Atlanta could see its nonstop connection with Shanghai renewed, though Delta does plan to restart service to Seoul from Atlanta this month, a move that could be seen as a precursor to restarting China service given Delta’s use of the Incheon hub as a transit point.
Delta also said it would continue flights to the European hubs of London-Heathrow, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, advancing a tentative recovery as European governments cautiously loosen travel restrictions. The U.S. is not among the first 15 countries whose residents are able travel into the European Union based on a July 1 notice.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport General Manager John Selden recently said that international travel will be last to recover at the world’s busiest airport, which is seeing a slow uptick after passenger numbers plummeted by 97 percent in April.