[photopress:air_san_jose.jpg,full,alignright]Do you know the way to San Jose? Well, yes. Go to San Francisco airport and instead of turning right out of the airport turn left. It is further that to San Francisco city, but not that much further. And it truly does not much have going for it as a town except a neat name and a catchy tune.
But San Jose has an international airport and it is not going to get direct right to fly to China. Not happy.
By 2009, it’s likely that travelers will be able to reach some of China’s major cities – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – non-stop from any of several U.S. hubs, including San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit and Newark.
San Jose, and a nearby and also overshadowed airport, Oakland, are not on the list.
Michael Roach airline consultant of San Francisco-based Roach and Sbarra said, ‘The problem that San Jose faces, that Oakland faces, is that when people think of the Bay Area, they think of San Francisco, the big enchilada. It’s difficult to get anyone to pay attention to the other two airports.’
So there are a fair number of flights from San Francisco to Beijing and Shanghai and United is expected to start daily non-stop service from San Francisco to Guangzhou in the spring.
Cathay Pacific Airways will add a second daily non-stop between San Francisco and Hong Kong starting Oct. 18, allowing fliers to connect through its subsidiary Dragonair which flies to 19 cities in China.
Michael Roach said, ‘The air travel market is expanding in the same way our commercial relationship with China is expanding. If the relationship continues to expand in the next ten years as it has in the last ten, we’ll see a lot more travel.
‘It’s reasonable to expect a hiccup at some point, but no one sees that happening at the moment.’
China’s National Tourism Administration projects that 129 million people will visit China this year, an increase of 5 million over 2006.
But they will not be flying direct from San Jose.
Tony Tyler, chief executive of Cathay Pacific who was in San Francisco on his way to take delivery of a Boeing 777-300, said, ‘The market is not totally untapped, but there’s still enormous growth potential. The number of passengers passing through China was up 17% last year, so the market is growing fast.
‘It’s a sad fact of life that the bigger airports tend to work better because they act as hubs as well as points of origin. San Francisco has a range of connections to cities all over the place and can draw traffic both ways.
‘If you’re going to operate a maximum of four flights a day into this area, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to split your efforts.’
Currently, San Jose offers international service only to Mexico.
Source: San Jose Mercury News