Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is intended to revolutionize the way we fly. And it is supposed to give small cities such as Portland, Oregon an advantage in luring foreign carriers. All Nippon Airways recently announced that it will use the 787 on new routes to San-Jose and Seattle. Having lived in Portland many years ago, the decision seemed odd considering Seattle is well-served by a handful of European and Asian carriers. Two airlines (Delta, United) already serve Tokyo from the Puget Sound area.
On the other hand, Portland could have benefited from ANA’s service. It has been fighting for years to bring additional international airlines to the state. After Lufthansa pulled out, Delta became the only international airline to service both Amsterdam and Tokyo with direct flights. But it appears the numbers didn’t add up for the port to make a competitive pitch. “We were not competing with Seattle for ANA service to Asia,” says spokesperson Steve Johnson.
In a volatile economy with high unemployment and record fuel prices, airlines are very selective as to which markets they elect to serve. “We are the smallest U.S. city with nonstop service to both Asia and Europe, and our community is working together to support the existing [Delta] service[s],” Johnson added. Having the leaner and cost-efficient Dreamliner in the air provides no guarantees of 787 service to smaller cities. It looks like Baltimore, Austin, and Portland will have to wait a bit longer for globalization to come barreling down on their doors.
Photo Credit: Port of Portland