Mineta San José International Airport had trouble living up to its name after a $1.3 billion modernization project was completed in 2010. Simply put, the word “international” left some people dubious about the lack of flights beyond U.S. borders.
But a step in the right direction was announced Wednesday. All Nippon Airways (ANA) will now offer non-stop service between Narita International Airport in Tokyo and San Jose.
According to a press release sent out by Mayor Chuck Reed’s office, flights between the two cities will start sometime during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
“We are delighted by this news and thank ANA for its confidence in San José and Silicon Valley,” said Reed, who traveled to Tokyo in February this year to meet ANA officials. “Whether on business or visiting friends and family, Bay Area residents will discover that ANA’s new route from San Jose to Narita International Airport provides a convenient gateway to Asia and the Pacific Rim.”
San Jose officials discussed the flights with ANA starting in 2008. Last February, Mayor Reed, Carl Guardino—CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and other city and airport staff traveled to Tokyo to speak with ANA President and CEO Shinichiro. Clearly, the meeting paid dividends.
“For the past two years, the leadership group’s 345 Member Company CEOs have championed direct flights between San Jose and Tokyo, and to other Asian destinations beyond,” Guardino said, adding a little jab at San Francisco’s airport. “Mineta San Jose International Airport is much closer to most Silicon Valley companies and their employees than the Bay Area’s other airports. It’s a waste of time to have world-class talent stuck in traffic inching up Highway 101 to SFO. SJC is easy access and leads the Bay Area and the nation in on-time departures and arrivals.”
According to the mayor’s office, ANA is expected to use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the Tokyo Narita-San José route. ANA was the launch customer of the 787, ordering 55 of the aircraft in 2004. Two of the new aircraft have been delivered and are in service in Japan, with a total of 20 expected to be delivered by March 2013. After training long-haul crews on the new aircraft, ANA will initiate the new international service.
San Jose’s airport currently offers international service to Guadalajara and Cabo San Lucas. American Airlines operated a Tokyo-SJC route from 1990 to 2006, and routes to Paris and Taipei for a short time in 2001.