Condor inaugural San Diego arrival – Photo: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Recently, I had the opportunity to take my first ever inaugural flight. Condor inaugurated twice-weekly service nonstopÂ from Frankfurt to San Diego and they were kind enough to allow me to tag along. This was a special trip for me, as I rarely get the opportunity to fly internationally in anything but economy class, as more opulent flying is typically not in my budget.
Condor inaugural San Diego arrival
Inaugural celebration – Photos: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Condor inaugural San Diego arrival
Not only was this a big deal for me, but this new connection to Europe is a big deal for the city of San Diego and the 3 million plus people in the metropolitan area. With the new flight, Condor becomes just the second nonstopÂ connection to Europe, and first by a leisure airline.Â
Edelweiss Air A340 Melchsee-Frutt – Photo: Edelweiss
Recently, I received a press release email from my local airport, San Diego International. The title read: â€œEdelweiss to begin nonstop seasonal service between Zurich and San Diego.â€ Youâ€™ve got to love it when your local airport adds new service, but this time was a little different than usual. Normally, KSAN â€œnew serviceâ€ press releases involve Southwest or Alaska, and to places like Newark, Tampa, or Cabo San Lucas. Did this one really say Zurich? And who exactly is Edelweiss? For an airport that receives very little wide-body international service (JL to Narita and BA to Heathrow), this KSAN press release was big news.
Being a card-carrying #AvGeek, Iâ€™ve heard of Edelweiss but I canâ€™t say I know much else about them or what they do. In fact, my first thoughts when hearing the name werenâ€™t even related to the airline.
JAL Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrives to a water cannon salute in San Diego. Photo: Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.
On Sunday December 2nd, Japan Airlines (JAL) began its all new service to San Diego from Tokyo-Narita becoming the first 787 operator into the airport and first airline to offer non-stop service to Asia from the city.
â€œFlying directly into San Diego International Airport, which is conveniently located in the heart of the city, offers transpacific travelers a long-anticipated, efficient and time-saving option,â€ said JAL President Yoshiharu Ueki. â€œJAL is delighted to also be a new member of the San Diego community and to be the first to provide residents with a bridge to Tokyo-Narita and one stop connection to more than 15 destinations throughout Asia-a region of economical growth and development.â€
The celebratory ribbon inside the terminal.Â Photo: Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.
JAL 66 came in for a smooth landing on-time at 09:50AM and was greeted with a water canon salute. This is the second US destination following the airline’s launch of Boston earlier this year. The service will begin with four times per week, connecting the two cities eventually going daily on March 1st 2013.
â€œWe are very excited to bring the worldâ€™s newest airplane to the San Diego Region. The 787 is the reason that this route is happening today,â€ JAL President Yoshiharu also went on to say,
JAL will operate the flight with the all new Boeing 787 Dreamliner; they have it configured in a two class configuration of 42 Executive Class seats set up in a 2-2-2 layout, and 144 Economy Class seats in a 2-4-2 layout for an overall total of 186 seats onboard its aircraft.
JAL’s 787 (JA827J) sits at SAN.Â Photo: Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.
â€œOver the past few years, our bureau has worked closely in partnership with San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and other to expand international service into our destination,â€ stated Joe Terzi, President & CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. â€œKey international markets like Japan represent an incredible opportunity for the continued growth of our regionâ€™s tourism industry, and this new Japan Airlines flight allows San Diego to become a stronger player in global tourism and business travel,â€ Terzi added.
This presents major growth for the San Diego region between Alaska Airlines new offerings and British Airways daily 777 service to London Heathrow Airport. Japan Airlines flight marks the eighth international destination to be offered to residents and the San Diego community are excited by the continued expansion of flights being offered.
ADDITIONAL JAL 787 DREAMLINER PHOTOS AT SAN DIEGO:
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||This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent. Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.
@BrandonsBlog | Right Stuff Photography | Flickr
The newest livery on Horizon's Q400 is one for the San Diego State University Aztecs. Image from John David Wicker.
Horizon Air,Â which operates Capacity Purchase Agreement flights for sister carrier Alaska Airlines,Â is the eighth largest regional airline and is based in Seattle, WA. Recently, their own Horizon liveryÂ disappearedÂ and was replaced by Alaska’s Eskimo, but the airline still retained a nice collection of unique liveries.
On May 31st, Alaska showed off their newest livery:Â San Diego State University at San Diego International Airport (SAN).Â The unveiling of the new livery was timed to celebrate the start of Alaska Airlines new San Diego flights to Fresno, Monterey and Santa Rosa, Calif., which began on June 4 and 5.
â€œWeâ€™re proud to add San Diego State Universityâ€™s bold colors to our fleet of university planes and especially pleased that this aircraft represents our first California school,â€ said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlinesâ€™ vice president of marketing. â€œWe hope the Aztec plane will bring smiles to our passengers and be a source of pride for SDSU students, alumni and faculty for years to come as we fly it throughout our regional route network.â€
It took a crew of eight people working around the clock for seven days at Associated Painters, located in Spokane, WA to paint the SDSU livery. The painting required 32 gallons of white paint, 10 gallons of red paint and four gallons of black paint. In addition, about 2,000 sheets of sandpaper and 10,000 yards of masking tape were also used.
Check out the gallery below for additional special Horizon/Alaska Q400 liveries: