03:43 GMT18 January 2021
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    An aircraft belonging to Russian state airline Aeroflot was the only commercial passenger plane able to successfully land in Beijing amid dangerously high smog levels Monday, gaining the admiration of Chinese media.

    "Last night, flight SU200 [Moscow Sheremetyevo to Beijing] again defied Beijing's smog," China's Huanqiu Shibao newspaper wrote. "After an unsuccessful first attempt to land, the Airbus A330 swung around and tried again, safely landing at 12:36 am, arriving just 6 minutes late," the paper added.

    The "heroic" Russian plane became the only one to actually land among over 60 other passenger aircraft scheduled to arrive in the city late Monday, with other airlines and pilots deciding to turn around or land in other cities. 

    Chinese media and social media users have since spread a screenshot of an online airport schedule showing the Russian plane lit up in green (successfully landed) amid a sea of red 'canceled' flights.

    ​Social media users also recalled a similar 'heroic flight' taking place in 2014. At that time, Flight SU200 made eight loops over the course of half an hour over Chinese Inner Mongolia until easterly winds blew away strong smog in the Chinese capital.

    ​On Monday, the administration of Beijing Capital International Airport announced a 'red' alert for severe air pollution. By 6 pm local time, Beijing Capital International Airport announced the cancelation of 359 flights. Since Friday, most flights to the airport have been canceled.

    This week, Xinhua reported that nearly two dozen major cities in China have issued pollution red alerts, with smog covering one seventh of the country. Alerts are expected to last until Wednesday.

    China's coastal cities have been known for producing massive amounts of air pollution, partly because the country uses coal-burning power plants, but also because China serves as the so-called 'workshop of the world', producing trillions of dollars-worth of industrially-produced goods that are exported around the world.


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    aircraft, landing, pollution, smog, Airbus A330, Aeroflot, Russia, China, Beijing
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