From Air Cargo News (.com):
"Bird In Hand Worth Two In Bush?
Two Texas-based airlines American and Continental from a place which the current USA President calls home and once served as governor of, get U.S. permission to launch passenger flights to China this year and in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Transportation [...] DOT awarded cargo flights to FedEx Corp., United Parcel Service Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp. and Polar Air.
Other U.S. flag carriers that failed to win the additional service approval include United, which wanted to add passenger services between San Francisco and Guangzhou; Hawaiian Holdings Inc., which offered San Diego-Shanghai flights via its Honolulu base; and North American Airlines, which applied to fly from Oakland, California, to Shanghai and Guangzhou via Honolulu.
Also failing to win flights were cargo carriers World Air Holdings Inc., Gemini Air Cargo and Evergreen International Aviation Inc. But for the aforementioned shut outs, maybe better luck next time. The 26 new flights being awarded (after comment) ramp up number of weekly U.S.-China flights to 133. Another 116 will be added by 2010."
So...I think the premise of this thread is wrong. Unless I'm wrong.