The maiden non-stop flight from Washington DC to Beijing arrived at Capital International Airport at 1:55 PM yesterday after a 14-hour flight.
Washington now stands as the 29th capital city in the world to be linked to Beijing thanks to the new United Airlines route.
"This inaugural flight is more than just another service in United's robust global network," said Glenn Tilton, president and CEO of United. "Connecting for the first time two of the world's most important cities is a historic occasion."
The daily service, performed by a 347-seat B747-400, departed Washington Dulles International Airport at 12:23 PM local time on Wednesday whilst on the return leg, it took off from Beijing at 6:30 PM yesterday and is awaited at Washington Dulles at 7:46 PM local time today. Until April 29, round-trip economy tickets are available at 3,890 yuan (US$503).
Currently, three Chinese airlines -- Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, and four American airlines -- United, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines -- all run direct flights between the US and the Chinese mainland. However, until now no direct carrier route existed between the two capitals.
The new route's prime customer base should stem from executives, businessmen and government officials and is set to bring United over US$200 million a year in income.