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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Boeing 787 Dreamliner

December 3, 2012


From left to right: Cathy Berg, Regional Vice President Passenger Sales Western United States, American Airlines; Jun Niimi, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles; Yoshiharu Ueki, Representative Director/President, Japan Airlines; Thella Bowens, President/CEO,  San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Hiroyuki Hioka, Senior Vice President-The Americas, Japan Airlines

It was a day of firsts at San Diego International Airport (SDIA) on Sunday, December 2, as Japan Airlines (JAL) flight #66 arrived from Tokyo and flight #65 departed. It was also the first commercial flight out of SDIA for the highly touted Boeing 787 Dreamliner. "Let's think of all the real people who will benefit from this flight," said Thella Bowens, President and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, adding that half a million people from San Diego travel to Asia every year. Bowens described the Dreamliner as a dream aircraft for the San Diego market because it is the first aircraft with the size, airfield performance and range to make the nonstop oceanic flight viable.

San Diego Regional EDC worked with the Airport Authority and other organizations to make the case for the San Diego-Tokyo flight. Before now, business executives had to fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco or other west coast cities to connect to Asia. The new Tokyo service will link directly to 15 other destinations in Asia.

Bob Filner, new Mayor of the City of San Diego, attended the press conference held prior to the arrival of the inbound flight and reiterated his desire to strengthen San Diego's image as an international center. "I want to make San Diego a far more cosmopolitan center," said Filner. He also recognized the economic benefits the new flight will bring to the San Diego region.

The ceremonies that accompanied the launch of the new service were marked by elegant protocol and buoyant enthusiasm. White gloved dignitaries simultaneously cut a ribbon with multiple pairs of large gold scissors. JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki, invoking the Spirit of St. Louis (which was built in San Diego), said "San Diego is so connected to aviation history. Time has brought us more innovation in the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and it has special meaning to me to take this historic journey with you."

The flight will operate four times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) until March 2, 2013, when it becomes a daily flight. The current configuration for the San Diego flight consists of 42 business-class seats and 144 economy seats.