Updated 08/15/2012 12:45 PM
First nonstop flight from RDU to San Francisco takes off
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RALEIGH -- Raleigh-Durham International Airport continues to find ways to keep the Triangle on the cutting edge. On Wednesday United Airlines launched its first direct flight to San Francisco.
The new connection means another economical boost to the area.
It's a take off Raleigh-Durham International airport is seeing for the first time.
“It's exciting to be on a direct flight and to not have to stop in Chicago for a layover. I'm going to save a little time on this trip today,” said Jana Hazekamp.
Saving time is one of the biggest wins for passengers like Jana Hazekamp.
“Every minute counts,” said Hazekamp.
Counting the minutes and watching the clock is a common theme seen among passengers at RDU.
They along with the business community say the efficiency will bring future investments to the region.
“We need capital here to make sure companies continue to launch right here in the Triangle,” said Gov. Bev Perdue.
Perdue was also on board today's full flight to San Francisco. She along with other business leaders believe a direct flight now means direct access to the booming high-tech companies in Silicon Valley.
"Instead of trying to compete with Silicon Valley and be the Silicon Valley of the south we need to embrace Silicon Valley and tap into that velocity. I can't think of a better way to tap into that velocity than by having a direct flight between the two ecosystems," said Jason Massey, CEO of Sustainable Industry Solutions.
It's a connection that opens new doors to the global economy and gives passengers more options when selecting their next travel destination.
“I fly out of a lot of regional airports, so getting a direct flight from one place to another is fantastic,” Hazekamp said.
The flight will take off daily. RDU officials said about 400 passengers fly out of RDU to San Francisco each day.
Outbound flights leave RDU at 7 a.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 9:50 a.m. Pacific time. The return flights leave San Francisco at 1 p.m. Pacific time and arrive at RDU at 9 p.m.