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United Airlines begins first direct Washington to Beijing service

29th March 2007 Print
Following months of intense competition for the new route between the U.S. and China, United Airlines yesterday flew the first-ever, non-stop service between Washington, D.C., and Beijing. The service will enable Washington, D.C., to join 28 other world capitals in offering nonstop service to Beijing.

The inaugural capital-to-capital flight departed Washington Dulles International Airport at 12:23 p.m. Wednesday, landing in Beijing Capital International Airport at 1:55 p.m. Thursday, local time.

“This inaugural flight is more than just another service in United’s robust global network,” said Glenn Tilton, United chairman, president and CEO. “Connecting for the first time two of the world's most important cities is a historic occasion with great geopolitical, commercial and cultural promise for citizens of both the United States and China. United Airlines is proud to fly this new nonstop route.”

Tilton will be joined by several officials today at Dulles International Airport to commemorate the inaugural flight. Virginia’s Governor Timothy Kaine, Minister Zheng Zeguang of the Chinese Embassy, and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Vice Chairman H.R. Crawford are among the guests scheduled to be on hand to launch the historic new service.

“Establishing a Capital-to-Capital connection is an important achievement for the nation, especially the state of Virginia,” said Gov. Kaine. “I salute the Department of Transportation and United Airlines on making this a reality – Dulles truly is the next great gateway to China.”

Following an intense competition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded United the new nonstop U.S.-China route last month, reinforcing that the route will provide the greatest public benefit and promote the national interest.

The new route will travel daily between the two cities.

Route: Depart: Arrive:
Dulles to Beijing 12:23 p.m. 1:55 p.m., next day
Beijing to Dulles 6:30 p.m. 7:46 p.m.

Highlights of the new route include:

- Large capacity
- Service aboard a three-class, 347-seat B747-400
- A network of 16 online connections in China through United's code-share alliances with Air China and Shanghai Airlines

A code-share agreement that will permit US Airways to provide its customers access to the China market, along with customers of United
Meeting existing local demand:

- Direct service to China for more than 8 million residents of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area
- The first local service for the nearly 68,000 D.C.-area residents who traveled to China in 2005
- The first direct route from the Mid-Atlantic region and strengthened service to China for the entire eastern United States

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