United announces Denver to Tokyo 787 flight

Washington DC
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United Airlines plans to launch daily service between Denver and Tokyo-Narita on 31 March 2013 with Boeing 787-8 aircraft, subject to government approval.

The route would be the Chicago-based airline's first to Asia from its Colorado hub as well as the airport's only nonstop across the Pacific. Korean Air previously offered one-stop service between Denver and Seoul via San Francisco in the late 1990s.

"A nonstop flight to Tokyo will create new jobs, generate more than $130 million in annual economic benefit to Colorado and elevate Denver as a world-class city on the global stage," says Denver mayor Michael Hancock in a statement.

United would operate the once daily flight onboard a 219-seat 787-8. It is the airline's third planned route for the 787 after Houston-Intercontinental to Auckland and Lagos, the latter of which was instead launched with a 777-200 earlier this year.

Boeing plans to deliver the first 787-8 to United in the fourth quarter.

United's Denver to Tokyo flight will be the third new route between the US and Tokyo to be launched using a 787. All Nippon Airways will add service to San Jose, California in early 2013 and Japan Airlines launched service to Boston this past April and plans new service to San Diego in December.

The 787 is touted as being able to open up routes that were previously too long for smaller wide body aircraft and lacked the demand for larger widebodies.