Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Flights to Beijing and geographic illiteracy

Houston is apparently on the verge of nonstop flights to mainland China:
Parker said the city hopes to make a formal announcement in the "next couple weeks" and identified China as the likely destination country, while downplaying the news: "This is not a secret. I have been working on a direct flight to China almost since the day I took office," she said.

Parker was questioned by reporters after councilman Andrew Burks mentioned a nonstop flight from Houston to Beijing on Wednesday. Burks was unavailable for comment, but one of his staff members told the Chronicle later that Burks had confirmed nonstop flights between Houston and Beijing four times a week would begin in July on Air China, the country's flag carrier, headquartered in Beijing. 
That's a good thing for the city's international prestige and economy, not to mention its large Chinese population. Unless, of course, you dislike or distrust the People's Republic of China (which, judging from the comments on this article, a lot of people do), in which case you probably don't think this is a good thing.

I think it's a good thing. This bit of geographic illiteracy by the Chronicle, however, is not a good thing:
Houston has one other nonstop flight to Asia: United Airlines' daily morning nonstop from Bush Intercontinental Airport to the Tokyo area's Narita airport.

A nonstop to Beijing would be Houston's first to the Asian mainland.
Well, other than those nonstop flights to Doha and Dubai offered by Qatar Airways and Emirates, respectively. Both cities are located on the Arabian Peninsula, which, last time I checked, is indeed part of the continent of Asia.

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