As a sign of US carmakers’ increased emphasis on technology, United will start daily nonstop flights between Detroit and San Francisco.
The last time we remember carmakers being in the news related to air travel, it was when executives flew to Washington D.C. in corporate jets to beg for bailouts. If you wanted evidence that the Big 3 was out of touch, those luxury planes were Exhibit A.
But this latest news of United Airlines opening up direct daily flights from Detroit to San Francisco is something different; it reflects the vitalness of Silicon Valley to the efforts of GM, Ford and FCA to keep their cars relevant to our changing motoring landscape.
It’s the first time in 25 years that this route has been emphasized, and service is slated to begin June 8, 2017.
The flights favor the Detroit departure, if you don’t like to burn off your morning and afternoon on a plane. Detroit flights will leave at 5:30 pm EST and arrive at 7:50 pm PST. Coming back from SF, you’d leave at 8:30 am and land back in Detroit at 4:20 pm EST.
It matches the increasing activity at Detroit’s Metro Airport.
From The Detroit News:
The news is welcomed at Metro Airport, which has seen an explosion of growth this year and last, and is on pace to reach close to its peak annual passenger traffic. Last year, Metro Airport saw 33.4 million passengers come through its gates, up from roughly 32 million each for five years prior.
And the kicker:
Joe Cambron, the airport’s director of air service development who had been working on expanding the San Francisco service, said officials have been seeing an increase in “expanding ties” between Detroit’s automotive engineering base and the technology centers in the Bay Area.
“This trend toward great integration of technology and manufacturing is increasing the need for additional service between the Motor City and Silicon Valley,” he said.
This direct airline pipeline of shuttling talent back and forth will further integrate Silicon Valley’s work into tomorrow’s cars. The pace of automotive tech is blindingly fast, and United is wise to better accommodate its key players.