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60 Years in the Skies

Passengers on Japan Airlines are welcomed to the gate at the Bradley International Terminal on May 30, the 60th anniversary of service between Los Angeles and Tokyo. (Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

Japan Airlines on May 30 marked 60 years of service between Los Angeles and Tokyo.

JAL was the first airline from Japan to connect the two cities.

On May 28, 1959, a propeller-powered DC-7C departed Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) at 10:30 p.m. and landed at LAX some 25 hours later after making one stop in Honolulu. Upon arrival, the 40 passengers on board were greeted with great fanfare, including live music played by the Westchester High School Band.

Today, JAL’s daily nonstop LAX-Tokyo (Narita) service operates with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a four-class configuration. JAL and joint business partner American Airlines (AA) currently offer a total of four daily flights between LAX and Japan, including two flights to Tokyo (Narita), one to Tokyo (Haneda) and one to Osaka (Kansai).

“As the first airline from Japan to connect Los Angeles with Tokyo, we couldn’t be prouder of our rich heritage and our 60-year relationship with the greater Los Angeles community,” said Kiichi Nakajima, Japan Airlines’ vice president and regional manager, Southwestern Region. “Japan Airlines’ mission is to provide a superior travel experience and I want to express my deep appreciation to our loyal customers and many partners for your support and dedication.”

Distinguished guests in attendance at the gate event in Tom Bradley International Terminal included Samson Mengistu, chief operating officer of Los Angeles World and Japan Airlines Representative Director and Chairman Yoshiharu Ueki.

The first JAL flight was a propeller plane. Today the Boeing 777-300ER transports passengers on four flights daily.

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