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U.S. airlines stay cautious on China and Japan despite COVID exit

Global forecast strong as other regions expected to fuel growth

An American Airlines plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport. Each of America's three major international carriers posted better than expected quarterly results to end 2022 with a bullish outlook toward 2023.    © Reuters

NEW YORK -- America's largest airlines are expecting a strong 2023 with or without the help of the Chinese market, as executives cater to surging global travel demand while cautiously resuming flights into China after three years of zero-COVID policy.

"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves in terms of capacity to China. We're going to be very mindful to see how demand warrants and how this opens up," said Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian on an earnings call earlier this month. "But that's the big question mark I think, in terms of international demand for 2023 that we don't know yet."

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