United to begin DIA to Tokyo non-stop service in 2013

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DENVER – In November of last year, Denver mayor Michael Hancock made a trip to Tokyo to try and secure non-stop airline service between the two cities. 

It worked.

Hancock Tuesday joined United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek to announce a new non-stop flight on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” between Denver International Airport and Tokyo’s Narita Airport, beginning on March 31, 2013.

“Our customers will enjoy the direct, nonstop service on our new Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, which will provide a spectacular flying experience,” Smisek said.

The aircraft, with 42 business class seats and 183 economy-class seats, is a perfect fit for the new route because its use of light-weight composites, together with its modern engines and improved aerodynamic design, allow it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar sized conventional aircraft.

“This is a great day in the life of Denver and Colorado,” Hancock said.

“Opening this next frontier of opportunity with a nonstop flight to Tokyo will create new jobs, generate more than $130 million in annual economic benefit to Colorado, and elevate Denver as a world-class city on the global stage.”

Hancock acknowledged the work of past mayors and governors who have spent more than a decade trying to open up non-stop service to Asia. That said, the announcement, coming less than a year into his term, arguably marks his administration’s biggest accomplishment to date.

“Together with many of our business and civic partners, we have worked for nearly a decade to secure this flight, Hancock said.”

Tom Clark, the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, has been part of the delegation that’s been going to Japan for a decade, developing the relationships and making the case for Denver to win this flight.

“We needed the rest of the world, and Asia is the rest of the world,” Clark said. “Now, we’re a global city. It will mean a lot to all of us because it will mean more trade and higher paying jobs.

“The world is engaged in a war and that war is for jobs,” Clark continued. “These kinds of abilities to reach new markets will impact everyone in Colorado. Everybody benefits when commerce increases.”

Hancock also hinted that his administration has been working on opening up more international non-stop flights at DIA and that an announcement, possibly of a new route to South America, could happen in a matter of weeks.

“This quick access to Asia is going to be a game-changer for all of us,” Clark said.

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