Nonstop Flight Brings Aisa Closer to New England

By David Li,

My first trip to Boston started just after New Year’s Day of 1996 in Hong Kong, still a British colony back then. I left the hotel in the morning, and grabbed a taxi on the street to go to the old Kai Tak Airport. My itinerary included stops in Tokyo and Detroit. Some 30 hours later, after delays in Detroit, I finally arrived amid a snowstorm in Logan Airport. And surprisingly, it snowed for the next three days after my arrival in Boston, which made me wondering if the snow would ever end in my hotel room on Beacon street.

Sixteen years later, Boston just had warmest winter on record, and lowest snowfall amount since such record has been kept. On April 22, first nonstop flight Japan Airlings JL8 from Tokyo landed in Logan Airport only less than 13 hours after its takeoff. This flight also marks the first-ever landing of Boeing 787 in a US airport.

(Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

On Wednesday, April 18, Mass. Governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino joins Consul General of Japan in Boston Takeshi Hikihara and Japan Airlines Chairman Emeritus Kazuo Inamori for a ceremonial planting of cherry blossom trees. Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino welcomed the nonstop route and the lasting effect it would bring in promoting trade and tourism between New England and Asia.

Wired magazine calls the Tokyo to Boston route a perfect fit for Boeing 787, the so-called Dreamliner. “Instead of deciding to manufacturer a much larger airplane to compete with A380, which relies more on a hub and spoke system of airports, Boeing wanted to focus on efficiency that could link more cities together with non-stop service in a smaller airplane. … The 12- to 13-hour flight for Japan Airlines to Boston fills a void that airlines were not able to justify with a bigger aircraft.”

With deliveries of Boeing 787 ramping up in next few years, nonstop flights between Boston and major cities in Asia, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Singapore, are also possibilities being explored by various airlines.