Source: Aero, no. 16, October 2001.
The older, more circuitous routes between Asia and North America, typified by R222, came at the cost of either a reduced payload or a refueling stop en route; commonly Anchorage. New polar routes, like Polar 2, were opened in 2001 and permitted fuller payloads, nonstop flights, and shorter trips. The comparative difference between R222 and Polar 2 is about 2,000 km in favor of Polar 2, resulting in a reduced flight time of more than 2 hours, excluding the refueling stop.
Following the closure of Russian airspace to many airlines in early 2022, airlines serving the Hong Kong – New York sector reverted to the longer route along the coast of Japan, through Alaska, and then cutting across Canada from west to east.