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The Wall Street Journal reports Delta Air Lines is the leading contender to receive approval from the Dept. of Transportation for the first new nonstop U.S.-China flights awarded in a bilateral agreement signed in March. Delta has limited competition for the flights since only U.S. carriers without existing U.S.-China flights can apply. In fact, at present only Delta has filed an application -- the deadline is July 16. Delta-DAL-chart-06-28-07 American Airlines, Northwest, Continental and United are unable to apply, leaving US Airways, which has stated it wants to wait until 2009 to apply, since China is a new market for them. Delta has failed in prior attempts to receive approval for a China route. However, Delta's VP of public affairs commented, "Regardless of what competition there is, we have the most compelling case." Shares of Delta gained 1.3% to $19.67 on Thursday.

Sources: Associated Press, Wall Street Journal
Commentary: 21 Airline Stocks to Keep You Flying High This SummerAirbus Flies High at Paris Air Show; Delta, Boeing Negotiate $20B OrderDelta: Q1 Loss Narrows, Plans to Exit Ch. 11 This Week
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL). Competitors: US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC), AMR Corporation (AMR), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), UAL Corp. (UAUA), JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU)

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Source: Delta Seen Winning China Route -- WSJ