The Real Winner Of Nashville's New Direct Flight To San Francisco? International Travelers | Nashville Public Radio

The Real Winner Of Nashville's New Direct Flight To San Francisco? International Travelers

Dec 15, 2015

The Nashville airport is adding another nonstop flight to the Bay Area. United Airlines announced Tuesday it will start flying daily to San Francisco on May 5, about a year after Southwest Airlines launched a direct flight to Oakland.

At an airport press conference — which included a barbershop trio singing "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" — city officials mentioned that the new flight would help Nashville entrepreneurs connect more easily with Silicon Valley.

But it’s not just the technology industry that’s expecting to benefit. Butch Spyridon, who oversees Nashville’s tourism bureau, says this flight will make it easier for travelers from Australia to come to Tennessee. United Airlines flies daily from San Francisco to Sydney and Melbourne.

“To open Australia up to us, which is one of our target international markets, couldn’t be more important or more timely," he says.

United also offers a direct flight from SFO to Tokyo. Courtney Ross, who oversees economic development for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, says that's good news for Nashville, because Japan is a huge foreign investor in Tennessee.

“They can then make more trips to and from Nashville for those meetings," Ross says, which might also compel businesses to invest more in Nashville.

Both Australian tourists and Japanese business people can already travel to Nashville by connecting in Los Angeles, but Ross says the extra competition might lower ticket prices. It also gives travelers more flexibility on timing and airline preference.