United Unveils Non-Stop RDU-San Francisco
Venture forth, all ye seekers of venture funding. For RDU travelers, California’s deep pockets are now just a hop away. Forget the skip and the jump.
United Airlines today unveiled a long-sought non-stop service between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and San Francisco.
The travel breakthrough, announced by Gov. Bev Perdue during a celebration near the United ticket counter at RDU, leaves the Triangle airport at 7 a.m. and departs from SFO at 1 p.m. Pacific time.
It’s a nearly perfect fit to answer a need for the state’s younger life-science and InfoTech entrepreneurs who need face time with the many Bay Area venture capitalists.
In fact, the need for this non-stop was cited in a North Carolina Biotechnology Center report, Bridging the Gaps, published at the request of the General Assembly to highlight impediments to North Carolina’s continued life-science growth.
And the lowest ticket prices, at $374 round trip, are designed to go head-to-head with other airlines making stops along the way.
The Boeing 737-800 jets flying the route starting Aug. 15 will include numerous first-class seats. The westbound flight will leave RDU at 7 a.m. and arrive at SFO at 9:50 a.m. Pacific time, gate-to-gate. The eastbound flight will depart SFO at 1 p.m. and park at RDU at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
“New companies we recruit will see this no longer as your great grandmother’s North Carolina,” said Perdue. She cited the importance of having “all the investors in San Francisco and Silicon Valley bringing investments to RDU non-stop.”
Perdue, who has made numerous economic development trips overseas from RDU, said she often heard complaints from people on the West Coast that conducting one day of business in the Triangle meant a three-and-a-half-day business trip.
“This direct East-to-West-Coast connection is of critical importance for North Carolina in this 21st Century economy,” she said.
Adding to the flight’s glow is the connecting schedule to the Pacific Basin, giving passengers convenient access to flights to Hawaii, China, Japan and Korea.
Airport officials and others attending today’s announcement urged area corporations and vacationers to support United’s new flight by buying tickets on it and recognizing it as a valuable community resource.