Zipair Firms Up San José Plans

Credit: Zipair Tokyo

Japan’s Zipair Tokyo has confirmed that a planned route to San José, home to the northern Californian airport that serves as a gateway to Silicon Valley, will begin by year-end.

Reservations have now opened for the service connecting Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Mineta San José International (SJC), with the first flight scheduled to take off on Dec. 12.

The Japan Airlines subsidiary will offer three flights per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays using its fleet of Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 18 full-flat seats and 272 economy seats. Frequencies are expected to increase to daily in 2023.

“The service to Mineta San José International Airport will be our second route across the Pacific, following Los Angeles, which launched in December 2021,” said Zipair Tokyo President Shingo Nishida.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows, the Tokyo-San José market was served daily by All Nippon Airways (ANA) using 787-8s. After suspending the NRT-SJC service in March 2020, the latest schedules show that ANA plans to resume flights to San José in March 2023, although the route will be operated from Tokyo Haneda (HND), rather than Narita.

San José is home to a large Japanese community and Japantown San José is considered to be one of the last three authentic Japantowns in the US.

The city’s airport is named after the late Norman Mineta, the former mayor of San José born to Japanese parents who became the first US Transportation Secretary of East Asian descent.

Zipair will be targeting VFR traffic, as well as business travel to Silicon Valley and leisure passengers to the San Francisco Bay area. O&D traffic between Tokyo and San José totaled 81,210 two-way passengers in 2019, Sabre Market Intelligence figures show, while the wider Tokyo-San Francisco market was around 411,000 two-way passengers during the same year.

Zipair currently serves five destinations from Tokyo Narita, offering flights to Los Angeles (LAX) and Honolulu (HNL) in the US, as well as Seoul Incheon (ICN), Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Singapore (SIN).

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.