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United wins D.C.-Beijing nonstop

January 10, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — United Airlines won tentative approval Tuesday to operate the first nonstop daily flight between Washington and Beijing, a 14-hour trip that links the capitals as their countries' economies become more intertwined.

The Department of Transportation's final approval would give UAL Corp.'s United a route popular among executives and government officials and potentially worth $200 million a year.

Washington-based fliers who make regular trips to Beijing applauded the news.

"It means that I probably save two to three hours in my flight," said Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

United did not immediately say how much it would charge for the flight. Existing fares for travel between Washington and Beijing start at less than $1,000 for economy class and can top $15,000 for first class.

If it wins final approval from the government, the Elk Grove Township, Ill.-based airline can begin nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Beijing's China Peking Capital Airport on March 25.

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