Houston Community News >> United Airlines Non-Stop Service From Washington D.C. to Beijing

1/10/2007 WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2007 — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today awarded the new nonstop U.S.-China route to United Airlines, reinforcing that the route will provide the greatest public benefit and promote the national interest by connecting two of the world’s most important capitals.

In its decision, DOT found that “United’s Washington (Dulles)-Beijing proposal has important advantages that should benefit the traveling public while also enhancing sustainability of the service.”

“We applaud the Department of Transportation on their fair and thorough process and for putting the interest of the nation and the traveling public first,” said Glenn Tilton, United chairman, president and CEO. “United Airlines is honored to be selected as the first carrier to connect the governments, commerce and cultures of these two important capital cities.”

The route that will connect the Washington, D.C., region with Beijing will launch within 90 days of DOT’s final order. DOT selected the daily service between Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., and Beijing Capital International Airport over proposals from American, Continental and Northwest airlines.

“Our success would not have been possible without the broad base of support, including our employees, that also recognizes the importance of this long-overdue air service,” Tilton said.

A diverse group of business and community leaders led by the Capital-to-Capital Coalition advocated for the air route. It garnered significant support from 110 members of Congress and a formidable slate of former senior government officials from eight presidential administrations and both houses of Congress, China policy experts, business and civic leaders, transportation officials, top aviation unions, and more than 110,000 United customers and employees.

Jim Bennett, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, and Jane Garvey, former FAA administrator under Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush, chair the coalition.

“In making its prudent decision, it is clear DOT strongly considered both the national interest and the individual communities served by the route,” Garvey said. “Creating a link between Washington and Beijing is an important step in the effort to connect the United States and China some 30 years after diplomatic relations were normalized.”

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 codeshare alliances with Air China and Shanghai Airlines
A codeshare agreement that will permit US Airways to provide its customers access to the China market, along with customers of United

Serving the national interest
The service will allow Washington, D.C., to join 28 other world capitals in offering nonstop service to Beijing

Meeting existing local demand
Direct service for more than 8 million residents of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area; Washington is the largest market in the U.S. without nonstop service to China
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.