When Silicon Valley business travelers talk, the airlines listen.
A new victory has been declared for Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), following the announcement this week that Lufthansa will fly nonstop between San Jose, technology’s gateway to the world, and Frankfurt, Germany, gateway hub to Europe and beyond.
The five-time weekly service, operated by Lufthansa, Europe’s largest carrier, will have its inaugural flight on April 29, 2016. The aircraft can seat up to 298 passengers and travelers have three seating classes to choose from – Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy. It will be San Jose’s first flight to Europe in fifteen years. Frankfurt service is the fifth nonstop market for San Jose in addition to the recently announced British Airways’ service to London-Heathrow on May 4, 2016. Yes, Silicon Valley’s spring awakening looks very exciting.
Earlier this year, Hainan Airlines launched nonstop service to Beijing, China and in 2013 All Nipon Airways launched its first nonstop daily flight to Tokyo-Narita, Japan. Daily flights on Alaska Airlines and Volaris to Guadalajara and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico complete the list of the international flights from SJC.
“Mineta San José International Airport continues to be the airport of choice for global technology companies located throughout the Silicon Valley, and adding nonstop service between Frankfurt and San José has been a top priority for the business community for many years,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Lufthansa’s decision to launch service out of San José will be well received by both business and leisure travelers. The San José City Council and I thank Lufthansa for its significant investment in San José, and look forward to helping make the route an unqualified success.”
Joining the news conference at San Jose City Hall was Lufthansa’s Regional Sales Manager for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, Alexandra Landers who confirmed that it took nearly five years to bring Lufthansa to San Jose, but SJC outpaced any other airports being considered for the new service. “It made financial sense and I believe there’s going to be a good amount of demand from this market, especially with the corporate demand.”
According to the Lufthansa Group’s press release, Frankfurt, Germany’s most international city, offers a rich culture and history. With a population of about 5.6 million, the Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan region is one of Europe’s leading economic centers and a popular travel destination. Although only fifth in size among German cities, Frankfurt is Germany’s financial powerhouse, home to the German Central Bank as well as the European Central Bank, which manages the Euro.
SJC’s press release identifies Frankfurt as a priority travel route for the greater San Jose region that has significant business and personal links to Germany, Europe, and beyond. Silicon Valley companies have 324 locations throughout Germany. Nearly all major car manufacturers have research and development facilities in Silicon Valley, among them BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen. Nonstop service to and through Frankfurt offers the opportunity to enhance business and improve travel efficiency.
“Germany was one of five international destinations sought by Silicon Valley CEOs and top managers,” said Carl Guardino, President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “The final most sought destination is Seoul, Korea, and that’s where we now need to focus.”
The press event concluded, as is customary of any Oktoberfest celebration bashes in Germany, with a special toast – but this time with the local favorite Gordon Biersch Beer. Although the announcement came at 11AM local time, it is happy hour somewhere. Cheers!
Lina Broydo immigrated from Russia, then the Soviet Union, to Israel where she was educated and got married. After working at the University in Birmingham, England she and her husband immigrated to the United States. She lives in Los Altos Hills, CA and writes about travel, art, style, entertainment, and sports. She hardly cooks or bakes, with no borsch or piroshky on her home cooking menu. Therefore, she makes reservations and enjoys dining out, mostly sushi.
By Lina Broydo