A China Eastern Airlines A340 passenger aircraft landed at Shanghai airport Wednesday after a 15-hour non-stop flight from Chicago via the Arctic region.
The fight was the first of its kind conducted by a Chinese airliner, sources said.
When flying over the polar region, airplanes encountered a series of technical difficulties, ranging from the strong magnetic field to the extremely low air temperatures, experts said, adding that only a limited number of foreign air services have succeeded in flying over this region so far.
Compared with the current air service linking China and the United States, the flight over the Arctic greatly shortens the flying distance and may save as much as 150,000 Yuan (about US$18,000) in costs each time.
If this air service is put into operation, passengers will spend three hours less in the air compared with the current flight, which travels along almost the same latitude for the entire journey, and the tickets will be much cheaper, sources said.
(People's Daily May 31, 2001)