Governor Huntsman Welcomes New Delta flight: Tokyo to Salt Lake
New Non-Stop Flight Conveniently Positions Utah for Western US and Pacific-Rim Fliers
Less than three weeks after the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) Board offered an incentive package to Delta, from a Utah coalition composed of GOED, Utah Office of Tourism, Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake County to attract a Delta Air Lines direct flight from Salt Lake City to Tokyo, Japan, the airline has announced the commencement of a flight set to begin Summer 2009.
"Today's announcement, just weeks after the Delta-Northwest merger became official, is further proof of the faith and trust the nation's top business leaders have in Utah's strong economic climate and workforce," said Governor Jon Huntsman. "Japan is Utah's fourth largest trading partner with more than $400 million a year. This new direct flight ties our capital cities together, expanding and strengthening the mutual economic foundations."
In mid-September GOED's International Trade Office lead a trade mission to Japan with six Utah companies, including Ceramatec, Zions Bank, and Nelson Labs. In 2007 exports from Utah to Japan totaled $416,381,446 and included 79 different types of commodities ranging from optic and surgical instruments to manmade fibers and edible preparations.
"With Delta's western hub in Salt Lake City this new direct flight to Tokyo is a gateway to the opening of other Asian markets, such as Korea and China to being more accessible to all of the Western United States," said Jason P. Perry, Executive Director of GOED. "The new route itself will add to Utah's already strong economic climate in the form of more than $90 million in infrastructure and no less than 1,100 jobs in a variety of support services to the airline."
Less than six months ago Delta began a direct flight to Paris, which is currently averaging a monthly occupancy load of more than 80-percent. The success of the Paris flight is currently rivaling the direct flights Delta has from its home base of Atlanta to Paris as well as Cincinnati to Paris.
GOED's Utah Office of Tourism also celebrated Delta's announcement today of the direct flight to Tokyo and will be working to promote Salt Lake City as the gateway to Yellowstone in the north and the Grand Canyon Circle to the south. Two areas consistently identified by Japanese tourists as places in the United States they would most like to visit.
"As a strong partner with Delta, Utah has been very supportive of its merger with Northwest which has brought this new destination," said Perry. "With the Northwest hub at the Tokyo airport and the successful Delta hub in Salt Lake City it created a formula for success and business optimization. We are glad the merger opened the door." Northwest currently flies to nine Asian cities from Tokyo.
Along with the Tokyo-Salt Lake City announcement, Delta today also indicated it will be offering a third daily flight between Salt Lake City and Detroit, and new daily service between Salt Lake City and Minneapolis which will make pacific rim connections with those regions more convenient.