Air travel from SFO to Asia continues steady increase

Travel to Asia has been increasing in recent years as the local and national economies continue their long climb back up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Chinese economy has started taking off.

Four major carriers, United, Continental, Northwest and American Airlines, are pushing the Department of Transportation to allow them to expand their service to Asia. The push comes as fliers, both business travelers and vacationers, line up to head to the Far East.

There’s no word yet on when DOT will make a decision on who canexpand their Asian service, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said.

But the airlines hope not only to cash in on growing business travel to and from the Far East, but also the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, which is likely to attract a high volume of leisure travelers, he said.

The boom is particularly noticeable at San Francisco International Airport, where Asian destinations are the most popular after domestic flights, according to airport officials.

Nearly 3.8 million passengers arrived from and departed to Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo — the nine Asian destinations served at SFO, in 2005, according to the airport statistics.

United Airlines, SFO’s biggest carrier, saw a 2.8 percent increase in travelers to Asia in July 2006 over July 2005, according to spokesman Robin Urbanski.

Some 2.2 million travelers came and went from Europe during the same period; slightly over 1 million for Canada; 721,000 for Mexico and Central America; and nearly 300,000 for Auckland and Sydney.

Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said that in the last year, there has been an across-the-board increase in business and leisure travel to Asia, particularly to China.

“We have certainly seen an increase and it’s undoubtedly because of the quickly growing Asian market,” McCarron said.

R. Sean Randolph, president and CEO of the Bay Area Economic Forum, said that SFO had the most precipitous drop in traffic after 2001. This was due not only to the terrorist attacks but also to the tech bubble bursting shortly beforehand, he said.

“We see SFO really coming back from a staggeringly low level of traffic,” Randolph said. “And with the international economy doing even better, led in large part by the economies in Asia, that has helped tremendously with tourism and business travel.”

tramroop@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read