The airline says it plans to operate the "highly anticipated" Boeing 787-8 configured with business and economy class seating on the route, making Boston...

Japan Airlines plans to launch a new route between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport starting April 22, 2012, using Boeing 787-8s.

The airline says it plans to operate the “highly anticipated” Boeing 787-8 configured with business and economy class seating on the route, making Boston the first destination named by JAL to be served by its Dreamliners.


JAL says it will become the only carrier to link Asia and Boston, one of the largest U.S. metropolitan cities, directly with nonstop service. Japan Airlines will operate round-trip service four times a week initially, but the carrier will increase service frequency on the route to a daily flight from June 1, 2012. It says the route will facilitate travel to and from cities throughout the New England region, as well as adding greater convenience for business and leisure travelers connecting to and from key Asian cities through JAL’s extensive international network at Narita.

American Airlines will codeshare on JAL’s Tokyo-Boston flights. JAL and American entered into a joint business agreement last month and began jointly offering customers greater benefits and travel options over the Pacific. The oneworld Alliance partners now coordinate sales efforts on flights between Japan, Asia and North America, which Japan Airlines says will include and significantly support the viability of the new Tokyo-Boston route.

Japan Airlines has 35 General Electric GEnx-1B-powered Boeing 787s on order, plus options on 20 more

Reservations and ticket sales will be available through both airlines. Customers can make bookings for the service through JAL from 9 p.m. EST on May 27 and through American from the middle of June via the airlines’ respective websites and call centers. JAL’s reservations number in Japan is 0570-025-031 and its website address is www.jal.co.jp/en. In the U.S., the carrier’s reservations number 1-800-525-3663 and its website address is www.ar.jal.com.

American Airlines’ reservations number in Japan is 03-3298-7677 and its website address is www.americanairlines.jp/intl/jp/index_en.jsp. In the U.S., American’s reservations number is 1-800-433-7300 and its website address is www.aa.com.

In addition to its relationship with American, JAL has also begun discussions to strengthen its U.S. network structure with JetBlue Airways, using the carrier’s hub operations in Boston to give customers more options and smoother connections to and from major destinations in the East Coast.

“I am pleased to announce the addition of Boston to our international network – our first new gateway in North America in 13 years,” said Masaru Onishi, president of Japan Airlines, in a statement. “By making full use of the efficiencies of the revolutionary 787 as well as capitalizing on our closer relationship with American Airlines, we are confident this new route will prove to be another valuable link for commercial and cultural exchanges between both regions, and more significantly, the onset of JAL’s growth strategies going forward.”

“This new flight further demonstrates the benefits of our joint business agreement and will strengthen our relationship with Japan Airlines even more,” said Tom Horton, president of American Airlines.  “The Boston-Narita service is one of the many new customer benefits of our increased cooperation between North America and Asia with our long-standing and valued partner.”

“I am thrilled that Japan Airlines has agreed to begin nonstop service between Tokyo and Boston, and I applaud them for choosing Massachusetts as a destination,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “I also want to commend Massport for their efforts to make this a reality. Our counterparts in Tokyo understand the value of a direct flight that will connect them to our growing health care, biotechnology, telecommunications, and advance technologies industries, and to our prestigious colleges and research universities. This is an invaluable economic partnership for the Commonwealth, and we look forward to the increased tourism, commerce, and economic development with Japan that it will bring.”

“This new service will connect New England and Asia as never before,” said Thomas J. Kinton Jr., Massport’s CEO & Executive Director. “Asia is a priority for Governor Patrick’s administration to further enhance the economic competitiveness of the Commonwealth and nonstop flights to Asia are the number one service target among the Boston-area’s business, academic and tourism communities. We are thrilled with the route and thankful that the work of our Asia Task Force with Boston business leaders helped clinch the deal.”

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and boasts a rich history. It is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts and a center for higher education, economics, bio-tech research and culture on the East Coast. Boston will become the fifth continental U.S. gateway served by JAL, the other being New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Japan Airlines’ initial schedule between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Boston Logan (BOS) will see flight JL008 (also given the American Airlines codeshare flight number AA5922) departing NRT at 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and landing at BOS at 11:20 a.m. local time the same day, local time, after crossing the International Dateline. After May 31, 2012, the service will become daily.

In the other direction, flight JL007 (also given the codeshare flight number AA5921) leaving BOS at 1:20 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and arriving at NRT at 4:00 p.m. local time the following day, again after crossing the International Dateline. After May 31, 2012, the flight becomes a daily service.

JAL cautions that the flight and fleet schedule is subject to government approval and change.

Japan Airlines has a global network reaching more than 225 airports in 38 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners. Domestically, the airline covers more than 50 airports throughout Japan. JAL operates an average of approximately 22,000 international and domestic flights a month, and has a fleet of some 200 aircraft that includes Boeing 777s, 767-300ERs, 737-800s, and Brazilian-made Embraer 170 regional jets.

JAL has 35 Boeing 787s fitted with GEnx engines on order, plus 20 options, and is scheduled to receive the first aircraft by the fourth quarter of 2011. JAL serves destinations in Asia, Europe, and Oceania, as well as in North America including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Vancouver. JAL is the only airline operating between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and San Francisco.

Japan Airlines’ frequent flyer program, JAL Mileage Bank, is one of the world’s largest loyalty programs, with more than 23 million members worldwide.