BOSTON (CBS) – The first non-stop service between Boston and Tokyo is an initial success.
That was the word at the Oneworld alliance booth at the Global Business Travel Association conference this week at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which ends Wednesday. Former president Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker.
Japan Airlines is flying the new route assisted in Boston by their alliance partner American Airlines.
Massport, which operates Logan Airport, has also made a strong commitment to the program with marketing incentives.
JAL is flying the daily route with the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and that is helping draw passengers.
“It has exceeded our expectations with 90-percent full loads,” said Keisuke Suzuki, vice president of passenger marketing the Americas for JAL.
“More and more companies like Wellington Management, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Fidelity are coming on board.”
“We expected load factors to be in the 70’s and we are very pleased with traffic so far. The big test will be November, January and February,” added Suzuki.
” Business travel is all about alliances and the JAL flights keeps us relevant in Boston,” said Jim Carter, the vice president of the eastern sales division for American Airlines.
American is operating in bankruptcy, but showed surprisingly good financial numbers for the second quarter. With major hubs in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami, the carrier is still a strong choice for business travelers in Boston.
JAL has a marketing agreement with JetBlue and that airline is supplying about 10 passengers a day for the Tokyo flights.
“The success of Japan Airlines is as good as any international startup that I have seen at Logan Airport. The morning time of arrival in Boston, the new aircraft and our plan to support the flight has all helped this effort,” said Ed Freni, Aviation Director for Massport.
In another sign of the international scope of Oneworld and American Airlines in New England, Carter indicated that a regional director from Europe was expected to be named regional director here in the next few weeks.
Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.