Air China has concluded a round of test flights over the North Pole between Beijing and New York ahead of its launch of non-stop services next month. The airline carried out the round-trip trial service using a Boeing 747-400 on 16 and 19 August. Air China plans to launch regular services on 27 September, operating thrice weekly. Air China decided to launch the service after codeshare partner Northwest Airlines dropped its only non-stop services between the USA and China, operating on a Detroit-Beijing routing. Northwest's China services now fly only via Tokyo, and Air China is known to have been unhappy about the suspension. The Chinese flag carrier says its direct services will cut flying time between Beijing and New York's Kennedy Airport to 13h from 17h. Air China will be the first Chinese carrier to operate regular commercial flights over the North Pole.

Source: Flight International