Tarheels look for non­stop flights to China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By AARON HAGSTROM in New York aaron­hagstrom@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

It’s home to univer­si­ties and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, and now North Carolina’s Re­search Tri­an­gle area wants a non­stop flight to China.

On Tues­day, Raleigh-Durham In­ter­na­tional Air­port (RDU) hosted a sym­po­sium at Duke Univer­sity for 100 state and lo­cal busi­ness, univer­sity and gov­ern­ment lead­ers to dis­cuss the ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of a 7,000-mile non­stop flight to China, ac­cord­ing to the Raleigh News & Ob­server.

The Re­search Tri­an­gle Park was cre­ated in 1951 to in­crease in­no­va­tion in the area. It is bor­dered by Duke Univer­sity, North Carolina State Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A non­stop flight from the Raleigh-Durham In­ter­na­tional Air­port (RDU) would likely in­crease Chi­nese tourism and in­vest­ments, as well as US ex­ports to China, ac­cord­ing to Michael Walden, agri­cul­ture and eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at North Carolina State Univer­sity.

“A di­rect flight would give North Carolina busi­nesses eas­ier ac­cess to China for pro­mot­ing North Carolina prod­ucts and ser­vices and eval­u­at­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket,” Walden wrote in WRAL TechWire, a Tri­an­gle­based tech­nol­ogy pub­li­ca­tion. “This is im­por­tant be­cause China ap­pears to be re­fo­cus­ing its econ­omy by putting greater em­pha­sis on house­hold pur­chases of its rapidly ex­pand­ing mid­dle-class.”

In 2017, air car­ri­ers added nine new routes from RDU, in­clud­ing a non­stop ser­vice to San Fran­cisco through Alaska Air­lines’ Vir­gin Amer­ica.

Last De­cem­ber, RDU Air­port Au­thor­ity CEO Michael Landguth said that it could take at least three years, and prob­a­bly five to seven years to get di­rect ser­vice to China, ac­cord­ing to the Tri­an­gle Busi­ness Jour­nal.

Part of the plan is to build a run­way that would be 11,500 feet long so that large heavy fuel-laden jets can safely take off in all weather.

One chal­lenge is find­ing an air­line will­ing to try the longdis­tance route, Bob Mann, of air­port con­sult­ing firm R.W. Mann and Co in Port Wash­ing­ton, New York, told China Daily.

“If there is go­ing to be a car­rier (fly­ing RDU to China), it will be a Chi­nese car­rier,” Mann said.

“(But) it’s a high thresh­old to clear to get an air­line to serve Raleigh-Durham-to-China.”

The US and China don’t have an “open skies” agree­ment so any new flight must be ap­proved by both gov­ern­ments.

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