Gov. Nathan Deal said in a written statement that the Shanghai route would boost tourism and business connections.
“The flight will help shorten supply chains for our companies and give them a daily link to China for time sensitive distribution,” according to Deal.
China ranks second for visitor volume to Atlanta, according to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Metro Atlanta Chamber CEO Hala Moddelmog said the resumption of the route “attests to metro Atlanta’s standing as a logistics powerhouse and gateway to the world.”
Delta's previous service from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Shanghai struggled amid weak demand. Delta first launched Atlanta-Shanghai flights in 2008, but lost money on the operation and cut back on the route before discontinuing it altogether in 2012.
But this time, Delta said its China Eastern partnership will allow travelers to connect in Shanghai to more than 50 other cities in China, while more travelers from China can connect in Atlanta to other U.S. cities, increasing the potential market of fliers.
“We’ll have a real good shot at making this a success,” Bastian said.
Delta bought a stake in China Eastern in 2015. The partnership will allow travelers to travel from Atlanta and connect in Shanghai to more than 50 other cities in China, and more travelers in China can connect in Atlanta to other cities around the United States – effectively increasing the potential market of travelers who would take the flight to a much larger geographical area.
Delta already flies to Shanghai from Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle, but the return of the route from Atlanta has been much anticipated.
In 2014, Delta's then-CEO Richard Anderson said he hoped to eventually restart flights from Atlanta to China. "We really have to reconnect Atlanta to China," Anderson said at a Metro Atlanta Chamber luncheon at the time. "Over the long run we will."
And in 2016, Bastian said he hoped to eventually restart the Atlanta-Shanghai service.
"We gotta get the Shanghai flight back for Atlanta. We're working on that," Bastian said a year ago. He said that would be his "personal contribution to the community. Because Atlanta needs Shanghai. Shanghai is the capital of Asia, from my vantage point, for the future."
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