American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) has applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for an extension of the date of commencement of flights between Los Angeles International and Beijing Capital.

The DOT awarded American seven weekly frequencies for service between the United States and points in China's Zone 1 and 2 back in December 2016 and was to have used them to launch a daily (i.e. 7x weekly) return service between Los Angeles Int'l and Beijing Capital using B777-200(ER) equipment. The deadline for the launch of flights was March 16, 2017.

However, as previously reported, the carrier has complained that despite filing what it termed "timely applications" for slots at Beijing Capital Airport, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has not allocated it any.

As a result, American has asked the DOT to grant it an extension of either one-year from its original March 16, 2017, deadline or within 90 days of American’s obtaining commercially viable slots at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), whichever occurs first.

"American has been in regular contact with Chinese authorities concerning the availability of slots, and has made plans to send one of its senior executives to China to discuss the issue in-person," it said in a DOT filing. "Furthermore, American is in communication with other stakeholders about obtaining slots. American fully expects that its continued efforts will eventually prove successful."

AA cites rival United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) as having garnered similar lengthy start-up extensions for flights to China including a six-month extension for its third weekly Guam International-Shanghai Pudong service as well as repeat extensions, which eventually amounted to almost eighteen months, for its proposed second daily San Francisco, CA-Shanghai service.