United gets green light on Beijing

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a new nonstop U.S.-China route to United Airlines. The route that will connect the Washington, D.C., region with Beijing is expected to launch within 90 days of DOT’s final order.

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 , 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,” Jane Garvey, former FAA administrator under Presidents William J. Clinton and George W. Bush 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.”

United Airlines plans to service the route with a three-class, 347-seat B747-400.