United gets tentative OK for D.C.-Beijing route



WASHINGTON (AP) -- United Airlines won tentative approval Tuesday to operate the first nonstop daily flight between Washington and Beijing, a 14-hour trip that links the countries' capitals as their economies become more intertwined.
The Department of Transportation's final OK would give UAL Corp.'s United a route coveted by executives and government officials and potentially worth 200 million a year.
United did not immediately say how much it would charge for the flight. Existing fares for travel between Washington and Beijing start at under 1,000 for economy class and can top 15,000 for first class.
If it wins final approval from the government, the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based airline can begin nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Beijing's China Peking Capital Airport on March 25.
"It's overdue," said James Millward, an associate professor of Chinese history at Georgetown University.

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