Only one carrier will be chosen, per a US Justice Department-Chinese government agreement made in 2004, so customers of whichever lucky (or more persuasive) airline wins the route probably shouldn't expect particularly competitive rates.
Among the signs that airlines badly want to win the route are the ads running in the Washington Post lately, including one from United Airlines, the Capital-to-Capital Coalition, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that shows a businessman digging a sandy hole on the beach with the tagline "Right now there's only one way to get directly to China."
A ruling is expected on the winner in December from the Department of Transportation, which is also weighing proposals from American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and Continental Airlines, as the Shanghai Daily reports.
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