JAL Celebrates 70th Anniversary of International Flights: Tokyo/Haneda to Honolulu to San Francisco, Originally a 31-Hour Journey

Japan Airlines (JAL) celebrated the 70th anniversary of its inaugural international flight from Tokyo/Haneda to Honolulu to San Francisco, which took place on February 2, 1954. A commemorative ceremony was held at Haneda Airport, where a dance team, which includes cabin crew members, performed a hula dance to mark this milestone occasion.

Approximately two and a half years after its establishment in August 1951, JAL launched its first international route as a Japanese company from Tokyo/Haneda to Honolulu to San Francisco on February 2, 1954. The flights were operated with Douglas DC-6B aircraft, stopping for refueling on Wake Island between Tokyo/Haneda and Honolulu. The service operated twice a week, with the journey from Tokyo/Haneda to San Francisco taking 31 hours. The schedule had flights departing Tokyo/Haneda at 9:30 PM, arriving in Honolulu at 8:40 PM, departing Honolulu at 0:10 AM the next day, and arriving in San Francisco at 11:30 AM.

For about two months after its inauguration, the service was offered only in deluxe class (currently known as first class), with 36 seats, and a one-way fare to San Francisco costing $650 (234,000 yen). Tourist class, equivalent to today’s economy class, was introduced in April 1954. The first flight, JAL602/604, was boarded by 21 passengers, 9 flight crew members, and 5 cabin crew members, totaling 35 people.

During the commemorative ceremony held in concordance with the departure of JAL flight 74 to Honolulu (operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, registration number: JA874J), JAL’s president Yuji Akasaka reflected on the 70-year history, stating, “As wings connecting Japan and the world, we have endured various hardships to reach where we are today,” and “We have somewhat contributed to the post-war development and the global contribution of the Japanese people.”

In front of the gate, there were displays of international flight schedules and pamphlets from the time of the inaugural flight, the second-generation uniform worn by cabin crew members, and model planes of the first DC-6B aircraft, affectionately known as “City of Tokyo” (registration number: JA6201), providing a look back at that time.

Flight JAL74, carrying 214 passengers (including 6 infants), departed from stand 114 at 9:02 PM. It was seen off by JAL Group employees with banners and penlights, taking off at 23 minutes past 9 PM for Honolulu.

This article was generated using automatic translation by GPT-4 API.
The translation may not be accurate.