It seems like every week Beijing is adding new flights to international destinations. Recently it's been all about destinations in Eastern Europe, namely Budapest and Minsk. Here's another one: Prague. Hainan Airlines, clearly still the country's most aggressive and innovative carrier, has obtained a license to fly the route, and expects thrice-weekly service beginning October 1. China Eastern Airlines is also apparently interested in flying to Prague, according to The Prague Post, but doesn't have regulatory approval to do so yet.

Air China will begin flying to Melbourne, Australia on June 1, four times per week. This will be the only non-stop service between the two cities. The service is set to go daily on October 25, 2015. Advantage or disadvantage: the flight is a red-eye, departing at 2am Beijing time and arriving in Melbourne at 3:30pm.

Air New Zealand and Air China seem keen to start non-stop flights from Beijing to Auckland in December, if a deal can be worked out, according to TTG Asia. That's good news for the airlines, despite the recent problems that visitors from China have had, or caused, in New Zealand.

In good news, Hainan Airlines (who else?) made the first-ever flight using a biofuel made from waste cooking oil. The Boeing 737 flew from Shanghai to Beijing using a mixture of 50 percent cooking oil collected from restaurants, mixed with 50 percent aviation fuel. Sounds like a great development in sustainable fuel sources, even if it means all future flights will smell like french fries and mapo doufu.

In not so good news, public health officials in Vancouver have traced two cases of measles to inbound travelers aboard a flight from Beijing. The flight was Air China CA991, from Beijing to Vancover, on Saturday, March 21. Read here for more information about what you should do if you were on the flight. There has been a measles outbreak here in Beijing over the last couple of months.

Photo: "Vltava in Prague" by che - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

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