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Boston Logan International Airport Brings the Far East Closer than EverJapan Airlines Inaugural Boston-Tokyo Nonstop Takes Off into History
BOSTON – The world got a little bit closer to all of New England today when Japan Airlines began the first nonstop service between Boston Logan International Airport and Asia.
Japan Airlines Flight 008, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with 42 business class seats and 144 economy seats, touched down at Boston Logan International Airport bringing with it the promise of increased productivity for New England firms doing business in Asia and increased tourism activity for New England.
“This nonstop flight reflects the spirit of collaboration between Japan and Massachusetts and will allow us to continue to grow our partnership culturally, educationally and economically, to grow jobs and support businesses in the global marketplace,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
The service from Narita International Airport would not have been practical without the 787, which has the range and seating capacity to fit the Boston-Tokyo market.
The Boeing 787 is an all new airplane, with a 21st century wing design, built with cutting edge manufacturing and composite materials. The result is the lightest, fastest, most environmental friendly commercial passenger jet of its kind in the world. With a 20 percent weight reduction, it is more fuel efficient and has the range, seating capacity and performance characteristics to fly the 6,702 miles from Boston to Narita fully loaded.
“Boston has been linked to Asia since Donald McKay’s Clipper Ships that were built in East Boston sailed across the Pacific,’’ said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “That tradition continues today with this new service, which departs from East Boston, and has you in Tokyo in a matter of hours.’’
Japan Airlines was an early launch customer of the Boeing 787 and saw the airplane as a strategic tool to open new global routes for the carrier.
“Japan Airlines saw the value of this aircraft’s distinguished long-range capability and medium-size capacity to connect the world’s mid-sized markets with Japan,’’ said Masaru Onishi, Chairman of Japan Airlines. “Boston was a natural choice with its strong business travel demand and healthy year-round leisure travel related to its many tourist attractions and world-renowned academic institutions.’’
Last year, more than 400,000 people flew from Boston Logan to Asia and either ended their trip in Tokyo or continued on to China, Southeast Asia or India. Japan Airlines estimates the nonstop service will save travelers as much as six hours on each trip. Both the inbound and outbound flight -- JAL 007 -- were full and bookings for the service for the next several months are excellent. The flight will run four times a week until June 1 when it will depart Boston daily.
“Massport is grateful to the business community, which offered full-throated support to our efforts to make nonstop to Asia from Logan a reality,’’ said David S. Mackey, Interim CEO of Massport, which owns and operates Boston Logan. “The Asia Task Force, which included members from hi-tech, biotech, finance, health care and higher education, was instrumental in putting names and faces behind the numbers that showed Boston was the largest originating market in the US without nonstop service to Asia.’’
The Japan Airlines service marks several firsts for aviation, for Japan Airlines and for Boston Logan. It is the first use of the 787 on a regularly scheduled basis anywhere in the Western Hemisphere; it is the first use of the airplane on a new route; Boston Logan-Narita is currently the longest scheduled route for the 787; it is Japan Airlines’ first new route in eight years; it is Japan Airlines first new US destination in 13 years; it is the first nonstop service from Boston to Asia in Logan’s 89 year history; Japan Airlines is the first international tenant airline in three years; and the service marks the first time Logan’s International Incentive Program has been used. Under the program, a carrier serving new routes in Asia, South America and Africa receives landing fee credits and joint advertising support.
Massport’s Aviation Department has been preparing for the airline and the airplane for months. Massport’s customer service department has hired a Japanese speaker; airport wayfinder – the video service on massport.com – is now in Japanese. Aviation Operations has outfitted Terminal E gates with all the marking and requirements for the 787. Instructions for using the MBTA’s CharlieCard vending machines have been printed in Japanese for distribution at the Information booths and posted as signs near the vending machines in the Terminal.
There are three temporary exhibits in Terminal E that highlight the new Japan Airlines service: The Consul General of Japan-Boston assisted Massport in displaying a photography exhibit of 39 pictures taken by former Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) participants. For the last quarter-century, JET has sent college graduates to work in Japan; three 62-inch monitors have been installed at the International arrivals area by the Consul General’s Office of Boston. The monitors show video and images of Japanese culture and tourism. The video is provided by the Japanese National Tourism Office; and two large abstract stainless steel sculptures were loaned to Massport for display at Terminal E by Michio Ihara, a Concord, Mass. sculptor whose work is in buildings and public spaces around the globe. In addition, he provided three maquettes of his work, including a piece installed in Tokyo City Hall.
Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 72 domestic and 31 international destinations and in 2011 handled 28.9 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.
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The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities.