Japan Airlines has launched its previously announced, first-ever direct service between San Diego International Airport and Narita International Airport in suburban Tokyo.

The flight will operate four times weekly — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday — until March 2, when daily service will be offered.

The first flight, deploying Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, arrived Dec. 2 at Lindbergh Field, welcomed in a morning inaugural event by airport staff and San Diego city and tourism officials.

“Key international markets like Japan represent an incredible opportunity for the continued growth of our region’s tourism industry, and this new Japan Airlines flight allows San Diego to become a stronger player in global tourism and business travel,” said Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Before the new service, officials said, San Diego was the largest U.S. city without nonstop service to Asia. Nearly a half-million people travel between Asia and San Diego annually.

Japan Airlines’ local flights have 42 business-class and 144 economy seats.

— SDBJ Staff Report