t'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
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
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
Triangle-based 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
Last December, RDU Airport Authority CEO Michael Landguthsaid that it
could take at least three years, and probably five to seven years toget
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 long-distance
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."
One possible Chinese carrier might be Hainan Airlines because it
has shown the "greatest innovation (of Chinese airlines) and intent to
serve developmental markets, in part due to their use of the Boeing 787,
a very efficient, smaller widebody aircraft," he said.
The US and China don't have an "open skies" agreement so any new flight must be approved by both governments.