Nonstop Flights to China Now Departing DFW

Wednesday was a big day for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as the first two non-stop flights to China departed.

The flights are as important to the airport as they are to the airline flying the routes to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG).

American Airlines is now flying from the U.S. to Asia 10 times daily, with the addition of the two flights, and CEO Doug Parker says were important additions to the airline.

"It represents the new American," Parker said. "Growth through Asia is really important for us, particularly out of DFW."

The flight to Hong Kong was completely full and is the first ever direct flight from Texas to Hong Kong. Both flights underscore the growing economic partnership and relationship between the Lone Star State and mainland China.

"China has become the number one trading partner in DFW," said Li Qiangmin, Chinese Consul General. Qiangmin flew up from Houston to attend the ceremonial ribbon cuttings.

The flights not only highlight the economic growth between China and North Texas, but eliminates the need for West Coast layovers.

"One of the guys who flies once a month says it saves seven hours off of his flight to do this," Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said. "And it’s a $200 million impact to the local economy for the flights."

Parker said it also shows the new American, the world's largest commercial airline, is healthy and growing.

"The airline is doing well, we’re happy about that," he said. "As we’ve always said, airlines need to be profitable so that they can make investments. These are the investments we like to make and we’d like to make more in the future."

The flights are being flown by the airline's new top of the line aircraft in its fleet, the Boeing 777-300.

"We're doing really well, we're very happy with the progress so far," said Parker. "And really happy with the support of the community of both Dallas and Fort Worth."

The flights are something that were long sought after by DFW Airport, as they seek to grow not just the airline's business, but other businesses and industries in North Texas.

"The direct flight to Shanghai will open new avenues of trade and tourism for our region," said DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue during the event. "We expect our Asian visitors to quickly discover that DFW Airport is the preferred point of entry for visitors in the United States."

The mayors of Fort Worth and Dallas are planning to fly to China on the new flights in September, as part of trade missions to the region.

NBC 5's Josh Ault contributed to this report.

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