Beijing-Washington non-stop flights start

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China Daily, Mar. 30, 2007

The maiden non-stop flight from Washington DC to Beijing arrived at the capital's airport at 1:55 pm yesterday after a 14-hour flight.

Washington is now the 29th capital city directly linked to Beijing thanks to the United Airlines flight.

"This inaugural flight is more than just another service in United's robust global network," Glenn Tilton, president and CEO of United said. "Connecting for the first time two of the world's most important cities is a historic occasion.

The daily service, a 347-seat B747-400, departed Washington Dulles International Airport at 12:23 pm local time on Wednesday. On the return leg, it left Beijing at 6:30 pm yesterday and arrives at Washington Dulles at 7:46 pm local time today. Till April 29, promotional round-trip tickets cost 3,890 yuan ($503).

Currently, three Chinese airlines - Air China, China Southern Airlines - and China Eastern Airlinesand four American airlines - United, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Continental Airline-sprovide non-stop flights between the US and Chinese mainland. But so far there has been no direct flight between the two capital cities.

The new route is expected to be favored by executives and government officials and is estimated to be generate more than $200 million a year.

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