American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) has attempted to block Air China's application for the renewal of its Beijing-Houston Intc'l exemption authority citing unfair treatment by Chinese authorities in the allocation of commercially viable slots at Chinese airports to US carriers on a reciprocal basis.

In a filing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT), American said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) had flat out rejected its request for slots at Beijing Capital International Airport for its proposed nonstop service to Los Angeles Int'l. In previous applications, the airline said the Chinese regulator had at least offered the carrier "commercially non-viable times" but in this instance, had simply refused to provide any slots to it allow it to exercise its bilaterally conferred rights.

American went on to argue the decision to block its application was a protectionist move aimed at ensuring Air China's continued monopoly on the route.

"By denying American the same opportunity to introduce Los Angeles-Beijing service in a timely manner, the CAAC has acted to preserve Air China’s non-stop monopoly on this route, to the detriment of the U.S. traveling public, U.S. carriers, and the U.S. Government," it said. "By impeding the development of new U.S.-China services by U.S. carriers, the CAAC’s actions reward Chinese carriers with a competitive advantage in U.S.-China service at the expense of the United States, which agreed to provide valuable bilateral benefits to Chinese carriers in return for these rights for U.S. carriers."

American concluded by stating that until such time that CAAC provides it with commercially viable slots, it would continue to object to applications for exemption authority filed by Air China and other Chinese carriers.