British Airways (BA) launched its first direct flight from San Jose to London on 4 May. The 10-and-half hour flight to the Silicon Valley capital marks a key connection to the tech industry.
The British carrier said that it had deployed a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that can seat 220 passengers between Mineta San Jose International Airport and Heathrow.
San Jose city officials said that the partnership with BA was part of their efforts to get more passengers to the city. San Jose's economy is expected to get a boost of $100m (£69m,€87.42m) annually in the form of shopping, hotel rooms, airport concessions and parking fees.
Mayor of San José, Sam Liccardo said, "We're told the market potential for this route is 900,000 passengers." The additional earnings would help the Californian city, which underwent a $1.3bn modernisation process in 2010, pay its outstanding loans.
British Airways already has flights connecting three other cities in the state of California. Hence, to get it to start operations to San Jose, airport officials reportedly provided the airline with massive incentives. Kim Becker, director of aviation at the Mineta San Jose International Airport said, it had waived off many fees such as landing fees, gate fees and ticket centre fees for two years.
The San José Mayor added, "London is the number one requested international destination from Mineta San José International Airport, and we're pleased to now offer it to business and leisure travelers in our region. British Airways' new service is the first of four international flights we will inaugurate in the next few weeks, reflecting the growing importance of the Silicon Valley region globally."
Carl Guardino, CEO at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a non-profit advocacy group in California said that 481 Silicon Valley companies had a presence in the UK while, 118 British companies had a presence in the Silicon Valley. "Time is treasure. We can't afford to waste time as executives stuck in traffic going to another airport with direct flights. Our companies, whether large or small, are global from day one", Guardino added.