US Airways just announced that it's asked federal regulators to allow it postpone the start of its PHL-Beijing service for a year because of fuel costs. The airline said it now plans to launch the daily roundtrips in the spring of 2010 if the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow it. US Airways president Scott Kirby, in a letter to employees, said DOT already has approved similar requests from United and from Northwest for planned cargo flights.
Kirby said at US Airways remains committed to growing international service from PHL and had done considerable work to prepare for the China flights. Officials met with Chinese officials to discuss facilities and licenses, created code-shares for inter-China service with Air China and done marketing planning. But fuel prices are swamping lots of plans and prompting airlines to think of every way they can to bring in revenue (see the item above about the $15 first-checked-bag fee). US Airways said the annual fuel costs alone for PHL-Beijing flights would be $90 million a year at today's prices, $40 million more than the estimates made when it filed for the route. Stay tuned for even more stories like this one and the one above.