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By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 12, 2008

But there hardly appears to be any immediate need for action — the current target date for the start of Boston-Beijing service has already been pushed back to 2010, and even that is now considered highly doubtful. The unpaid debts are not the issue; the plan depends on, among other factors, the production of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft — which has faced all manner of problems and delays.

Yoon's proposal took nearly everybody in City Hall by surprise. Yoon is not on the council's Aviation and Transportation committee, to which the proposal was sent on December 3. Aside from the one creditor trying to get its $14 million, there does not appear to be any organized opposition to Grand China doing business in the US — and no significant opposition at all to the plans in Boston.

A study prepared by Massachusetts tourism officials estimates that Boston and Cambridge are losing $40 million a year in visitor spending because of the lack of direct flights from China, according to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Yoon, who is Korean-American, says that being the lone Asian-American city councilor played some role in his interest, and that after seeing the Globe story, he reached out to members of Boston's Chinese community before acting. He also spoke with Massport officials.

He did not, however, take the pulse of his fellow councilors, at least one of whom gave Yoon an earful in opposition after the council meeting.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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