Continental Airlines will launch its first daily nonstop flight between Shanghai and New York today, making it the first carrier to open a new cross-border route to China this year amid the worsening global economic downturn and general recession of the aviation industry.
Continental is the only carrier providing daily nonstop service from three Chinese cities to New York so far.
The world's fifth-largest airline established nonstop daily service between Beijing and New York in 2005 and between Hong Kong and New York in 2001.
Despite the economic crisis, the airline is confident about the long-term growth of China and the increasing contacts between the two major financial and business centers of the world, said Jeff Smisek, president and chief operation officer of Continental. The airline is also upbeat about the rising traffic driven by the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
Continental will operate the daily nonstop flight with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The inaugural flight will depart Shanghai at 3:45 pm and arrive at Newark Liberty Airport on the same day, at 6:20 pm. The return flight will depart Newark Liberty Airport at 11:20 am, arriving in Shanghai the following day at 1:45 pm.
Flight time will be approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes each way.