Nonstop flights link Hangzhou, eastern China and San Francisco
The airlines will operate Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on the route, offering flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The first flight that took off from Hangzhou was full. On average, United Airlines has seen more than 80 percent of its seats taken for all US-China flights, and the percentage is still growing.
"We chose Hangzhou based on the emerging middle class and the rapid economic growth of the city," said Marcel Fuchs, United Airlines' vice-president of Atlantic and Pacific sales.
"There are more than 1,100 e-commerce companies in Hangzhou and many of them have business connections with US partners. The new route will connect the city with Silicon Valley."
Li Hong, director of the Hangzhou Tourism Committee, said: "Last year, more than 30,000 tourists from Hangzhou visited the US, surging 30 percent over the previous year, and most of them chose to fly from Shanghai."
Last year, the U.S. government granted 2.7 million tourist visas to Chinese nationals. United Airlines is bullish about the huge demand for air travel between the two countries, and it expects a continuing 10 percent annual growth in the number of Chinese tourists traveling to the U.S. ■