China has opened a new route allowing planes flying between Europe and some Chinese cities to bypass Beijing, in the latest step to reduce air traffic during the Olympics, state press reported on Friday.
Flights from Europe to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong will no longer have to be channelled through Beijing after the new air corridor was implemented on Thursday, the Beijing Times reported.
"We call this route the Olympic Bypass. It will alleviate air traffic delays and congestion," International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement.
The bypass, a result of two years' negotiations, will shorten the distance planes will have to fly by 60 nautical miles (111 kilometres), saving about 83,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 26,000 tonnes of fuel annually, IATA said.
The route is expected to see 475 flights a week, it added.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China had no immediate comment on the matter, when contacted by AFP on Friday.