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American Airlines Winner In Japan Flights

By Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor
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A JAL jetliner at Tokyo's Haneda airport. (Photo credit YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

A JAL jetliner at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. (Photo credit YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — The big winner in the start of non-stop service on Japan Airlines from Boston to Tokyo next year may be American Airlines.

The announcement made on May 27 calls for four roundtrips starting on April 22, 2012 with daily service starting on June 1, 2012. Tickets are now on sale and the 11-month lead time should give JAL plenty of time to gage potential ticket revenue in the first year.

Japan Airlines and American are members of the Oneworld Alliance. American will be able to provide passenger traffic into Boston and the JAL flights. In a separate agreement, JetBlue will also be feeding into this new service.

Business travel is especially important for the success of these new flights as these flyers normally pay higher prices. About 70,000 people flew between Boston and Tokyo on connecting flights last year.

bobweiss American Airlines Winner In Japan Flights

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Massport has long considered Asia its major target for new service. JAL and its partner American beat out All-Nippon Airways and Delta in the announcement. Delta had been considering Tokyo flights for the past two years. Instead they opted to begin
Boston to London flights this spring.

The alliance between JAL and AA is especially important because on long-haul flights, passengers usually use one airline alliance corporate account for their travelers while the passengers accrue frequent flyer miles.

The JAL flights give American a major boost of business internationally while its Boston domestic flights have been reduced in the last three years. AA maintains the largest sales and marketing team of any major carrier at their office in Woburn, Mass.

American will handle JAL flights while on the ground with check-in probably taking place in the American side of Terminal B.

“This new flight further demonstrates the benefits of our joint agreement and will strengthen our relationship with Japan Airlines even more,” said Tom Horton, President-American Airlines.

Boston will be Japan Airlines first new U.S. gateway in 13 years.

Two factors need to be watched closely for business in 2012. JAL has announced that the new flight will be on Boeing’s new 787-8 jet, the Dreamliner. This new Boeing aircraft is scheduled to begin delivery this fall but has been delayed several times. Also, the Japanese economy needs to rebound from the recent earthquake to allow for both business and tourists to make the trip from Japan to Boston.

Bob Weiss and “All Things Travel” can be heard weekends on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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