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United Airlines – Connecting China and the U.S.

16th April 2007 Print
Following months of intense competition, United Airlines, the largest transpacific passenger carrier, connected for the first time ever the capitals of Washington, D.C. and Beijing when its flight touched down at Beijing Capital International Airport on March 29 at 14:20. The service enables Washington, D.C., to join 28 other world capitals in offering nonstop service to Beijing.

“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 non-stop route.”

United flight, UA897, arrived from Washington, D.C. with an almost full passenger load and a group of dignitaries that included the first President of the United States of America, George Washington, portrayed by actor Dean Malissa. United’s Boeing B747-400 aircraft also displayed for the first time the official logo of the United States Olympic Committee in recognition of the airline’s official sponsorship of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

The inaugural flight departing from Beijing for Washington, D.C., UA898, also had a strong passenger loadfactor in addition to a full load of cargo bound for the Capital region and beyond. Cargo items carried on the first flight included garments, mechanical spare parts and household goods.

“Travel statistics show that more than 351,000 PRC nationals traveled to the U.S. in 2006, growing 30% versus the previous year. In the opposite direction, U.S. visitor arrivals to China reached more than 1.71 million in 2006, an increase of 10% compared with 2005. So in both directions, we are witnessing strong double digit growth. We anticipate that our new Beijing to Washington, D.C. service will capture this burgeoning market” said Michael G. Whitaker, Senior Vice President, Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs for United Airlines.

“With the launch of this new service, we are putting an additional 250,000 seats per annum into the marketplace per annum, representing a 50% increase in seat and cargo capacity from Beijing. More significantly, we now offer customers the choice of five nonstop services from China each day” said Mark Schwab, Vice President, Pacific for United Airlines.

United also code-shares on Air China flights to/from Beijing to sixteen (16) cities including Shenyang, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Baotou, Hohhot, Hangzhou, Harbin, Nanjing, Shanghai (Pudong), Qingdao, Wuhan and Xiamen.

United offers customers from China five daily nonstop services to the U.S., all operated with B747-400 aircraft. Besides the new Beijing - Washington, D.C. service, the other routes are Beijing - Chicago, Beijing - San Francisco, Shanghai - Chicago and Shanghai - San Francisco. United’s B747-400 aircraft are configured with 14 United First Suite seats, 73 United Business seats and 260 United Economy seats, including 88 Economy Plus seats.

In celebration of the new service, a number of special introductory economy fares to Washington, D.C. are currently on sale until April 29 starting from CNY3,890.

This fare is also valid for a number of onward destinations including New York (JFK), Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando, Miami and Raleigh. Fares are available through travel agents, and

Tickets must be purchased by April 29 for travel up to April 30, 2007. Terms and conditions apply.

From Washington Dulles International Airport, travelers from Beijing have smooth connections to more than 50 onward destinations via 90 flights on United, Ted and United Express.

*Based on the flight schedule between January 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2007.