American Airlines delays the start of Chicago O’Hare-Beijing to May 4

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) was unable to launch its daily, nonstop service from Chicago (O’Hare) to Beijing yesterday (April 26) as planned and will delay the start-up tentatively until Tuesday, May 4 (Chicago-Beijing) and Wednesday, May 5 (Beijing-Chicago).

American did not receive the commercially-viable landing and take-off slots for Beijing Capital International Airport from the Chinese aviation authorities.

American stated “In line with established International Air Transport Association (IATA) and industry guidelines and procedures which give preferential treatment to new-entrant carriers to a market, American applied for commercially reasonable – and industry accepted – slots at Beijing in October 2009.”

In other news, American Airlines, American Eagle and their employees have continued their long-standing support of veterans and active military service members through a variety of special activities in recent weeks.

During the first quarter of 2010, American, American Eagle and employee volunteers supported a number of initiatives related to the military and veterans, including:

Medal of Honor charter flight: On March 25, National Medal of Honor Day, American Airlines flew 40 of the remaining 91 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from New York to Washington, D.C., aboard its special Flagship Liberty yellow-ribbon aircraft. The trip included a visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony.

WASP event: March 6-8, American Airlines flew 382 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and their family members from various points throughout the United States to Washington, D.C. President Obama presented the WASPs with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The first women in U.S. history who were trained to fly military aircraft, the WASPs served heroically during World War II.

Gary Sinise concerts: Award-winning actor Gary Sinise (“Forrest Gump,” “Apollo 13,” “CSI: NY”) and his band, the Lt. Dan Band, partner with American Airlines to present concerts to benefit the troops, veterans and their families. On March 18, Sinise and his band gave a performance to welcome home more than 700 soldiers of Task Force Phoenix VII during a day-long celebration for the soldiers and their families at the home of the “Fighting 69th,” the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. Sinise’s tribute concert also benefited the SSG Chris Engledrum Foundation, established in memory of a member of the Fighting 69th who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004.

Medal of Honor Portrait presentations: American Airlines assists artist Phil Taylor and the American Fallen Soldiers Project (AFSP) in his mission to deliver original hand-painted Medal of Honor Portraits of fallen heroes to their families. On March 17, American Airlines transported a portrait to New York City for presentation to the family of SFC Jared Monti of Raynham, Mass., who was killed in action on June 21, 2006, in Afghanistan.

Honor Flights: On March 10-11, American Airlines, along with HBO®, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and The Honor Flight Network, flew 250 World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., for the first time. These veterans were honored with send-off ceremonies as they embarked on “Honor Flights” at various airports across the country aboard American’s Flagship Liberty aircraft. The flights were held in conjunction with the premiere of The Pacific, HBO’s epic 10-part miniseries based on the true stories of World War II Marines who fought in the Pacific Theater.

Legends of Aerospace Tour: American Airlines joined with Armed Forces Entertainment and the Morale Entertainment Foundation to transport a group of famed aviators and astronauts on a “Legends of Aerospace Tour” to visit U.S. troops stationed in Germany and Southwest Asia. On March 4, the group, including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and Captain Jim Lovell, Commander of Apollo 13, traveled aboard a special yellow-ribbon aircraft from American’s hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany, where the men continued their journey, meeting with more than 10,000 troops, giving motivational speeches and joining in panel discussions.

United States Honor Flag (USHF): American Airlines is a proud supporter of the United States Honor Flag, a non-profit organization dedicated to memorializing fallen heroes and to educating the public about the heroes of yesterday and today. The first Honor Flag was given to the USHF’s founder, Chris Heisler, by the Texas House of Representatives following Sept. 11. The flag had flown over Ground Zero, and the USHF was established to ensure that it continues to fly in support of America’s heroes.

Veteran/Military Employee Resource Group (VMERG): American’s VMERG, the first of its type in the U.S. airline industry, is composed of employee volunteers whose purpose is to promote the roles and contributions of veterans and active-duty military employees, and to serve as a liaison between American Airlines, American Eagle, and the veteran and military communities. Among its many activities, in March, members of the VMERG, along with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Air Transport Division Veterans Committee, visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to distribute donated items, such as toothbrushes and other common personal items, to the patients. With the help of the USO and the VMERG, the TWU Air Transport Division Veterans Committee donated more than $9,000 and dozens of needed items, helping more than 100 wounded warriors and their families.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing. Boeing 777-223 ER N756AM (msn 30264) climbs away from Los Angeles.