Five years of lobbying and seven years of waiting for direct air service to Asia from Silicon Valley will end Friday, when the world's most technologically advanced airplane - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner - touches down at Mineta San Jose International Airport from Tokyo.
San Jose International, the Bay Area's third-largest airport, will become the first local airport to have regularly scheduled international Dreamliner service. All Nippon Airways, Japan's largest carrier, will fly nonstop five times a week to Tokyo Narita International, and hopes to fly daily this summer.
For that to happen, travelers will have to fill the 158 seats - 46 in business class, 112 in economy - on the sleek, long-range Dreamliner, a mid-size plane good for serving secondary markets like San Jose.
"American didn't have the network connections that we do," All Nippon Airways' vice president for the Americas, Yuji Hirako said, adding that All Nippon Airways expects business travelers to support the flights. "'Silicon Valley wants to fly to Asia, and Narita airport has connections to China and India. Japanese companies want the service, too." Japanese firms with offices close to San Jose International include Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba.
05/01/13 David Armstrong/SFGate