Japan Airlines announced Tuesday it will resume nonstop flights between Tokyo, via Narita International Airport, and San Diego International Airport beginning in early March.
Japan Airlines -- which suspended service last April due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- will operate three flights a week, with the first arrival into San Diego on March 2 and the first departure from San Diego on March 3.
"Japan Airlines provides the greater San Diego area with an important nonstop link to Asia," said Kimberly Becker, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority's president and CEO.
"By providing Japan with direct access to our region, San Diego is more competitive and attractive to those individuals looking to vacation or conduct business in Southern California, which is critical to rebuilding our economy post-COVID-19," she said. "We look forward to welcoming travelers from Asia once again and thank Japan Airlines for resuming this important service."
The announcement comes as San Diego County is reporting record case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations from the virus -- far more than were present regionally last April. San Diego County remains under a state stay-at-home order.
Japan Airlines became the first airline to launch nonstop flights between Asia and San Diego when the carrier began service to Tokyo in December 2012. Pre-COVID-19, the airline offered daily nonstop flights.
"The San Diego Tourism Authority is thrilled to have Japan Airlines resume its service between Tokyo and San Diego," said Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. "Japan is the fifth-largest overseas market for visitors to San Diego, and many San Diego-based companies have strong business ties to Japan. We are excited for the opportunity to welcome visitors back in 2021."