United Airlines resumes Beijing to San Francisco direct flight
Published: Nov 12, 2023 03:49 PM
People shop at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, the United States, Oct 26, 2023. The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2023, outpacing expectations, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday. Photo:Xinhua

People shop at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, the United States, Oct 26, 2023.  Photo:Xinhua

US-based United Airlines officially resumed direct flights from Beijing to San Francisco on Saturday, on the eve of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting scheduled to be held next week in San Francisco.

At about 19:40 on Saturday, the UA889 took off from Beijing Capital International Airport and arrived at San Francisco Airport 12 hours later, according to a report by

In an earlier interview with the Global Times, United Airlines said that it has resumed the direct routes from Shanghai to San Francisco from October this year, with seven round-trip flights every week.

The resumption of the flight route came amid the increasing demand between the top two global economies, which had suffered from a sharp drop in available seats in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the upcoming winter-spring flight season, the number of China-US direct regular passenger flights is expected to increase from the current 48 (24 round trips) per week to 70 per week, CAAC News reported on October 28, citing the Civil Aviation Administration of China .

According to scheduling released by Chinese airlines, US cities with direct flights operated by Chinese airlines include Los Angeles, New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Chinese airlines including Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines and China Eastern Airlines are also considering an increase in flight numbers. Hainan Airlines said Thursday that it plans to resume direct flight from Beijing to Boston from November 26 with the return leg also stopping in Seattle.

Flights between China and the US have been growing since the beginning of this year. 

In August this year, The US Department of Transportation said that each country would gain six weekly round-trip flights as of September 1, up from the current 12, while the figure would increase to 24 per week starting from October 29, meaning a doubling of current levels.

However, the flight number, even at 70, still lags behind that of pre-pandemic levels, according to flight information provider VariFlight. In 2019 there were an average of 165 passenger flights between China and the US per day, with a peak of 181 flights.

In the first half this year, China-US relations suffered from some twists and turns. Since June this year, senior US officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo had visited China.

For the first time, the US sent a high-level official delegation to the just-concluded sixth China International Import Expo. High-level interactions have been on the increase, and bilateral relations have shown positive signs toward stabilizing. 

Global Times