In 2010, the U.S. and China intend to begin negotiations on an open skies agreement, which would likely provide unlimited access to all Chinese destinations, including the big three cities. In the meantime, under the existing pact, cities in 22 provinces are already covered.
Additionally, seven weekly frequencies (one daily flight) are currently available to cities in seven other provinces -- Fujian, Guangdong (except Guangzhou), Hebei, Jiangsu, Shandong, Tianjin and Zhejiang. In 2008, an additional seven weekly frequencies will become available for these seven provinces
The access to China will only improve. The Chinese intend to build approximately three dozen new airports over the next five to 10 years. And airlines are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Boeing 787, a long-range airplane with relatively low operating costs that is suitable for thinner markets.
So far, the focus has been almost exclusively on Beijing and Shanghai. By 2009, the six legacy carriers will offer 14 flights to the two cities, assuming tentative route awards are confirmed.