What was viewed as a major hurdle for local technology companies in Greater Victoria – is no longer. 

The Victoria Airport Authority today announced a new non-stop service from Victoria (YYJ) to San Francisco (SFO) on United Airlines, beginning June 5, 2008.  Richard Paqueette, President and Cheif Executive Officer of the Victoria Airport Authority, commented: "We are delighted to welcome United Airlines to Victoria.  This service, through such an important gateway, brings exciting opportunities to attract new visitors to our wonderful destination."

He said, "This new flight will certainly be a very convenient option to all Vancouver Island residents headed south to San Francisco, or beyond to a long list of US and International destinations served by United Airlines through SFO."  The daily service on United Airlines will be operated by United Express with a 66 seat CRJ700.

The legacy of the California Gold Rush turned San Francisco into the principal banking and finance center of the west coast in the early twentieth century. Montgomery Street in the Financial District is known as the "Wall Street of the West", home to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, and the site of the now defunct Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. Bank of America, a pioneer in making banking services accessible to the middle class, was founded in San Francisco. Many large financial institutions, multinational banks and venture capital firms are based in or have set up regional headquarters in the city.

San Francisco's economy has increasingly become tied to that of Silicon Valley to the south, sharing a need for highly educated workers with specialized skills. It has been positioning itself as a biotechnology and biomedical hub and research center. The Mission Bay neighborhood, site of a second campus of UCSF, fosters a budding industry and serves as headquarters of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the public agency funding stem cell research programs statewide.

The Greater Victoria technology community will now have direct access to one of the world's largest centres for venture capital funding and biotechnology.  "We applaud the Victoria Airport Authority for this major achievement for our region.  It is a substantial victory for our local technology firms on Vancouver Island to have immediate access to San Francisco.  This announcement will have a postive impact on our regions economic development and will allow our local tech firms to be exposed to one of the largest venture capital  and biotech regions in the world," said Dale Gann, Vice President, Vancouver Island Technology Park.       

The new flight will operate daily on the following schedule:

Departs                Time             Arrives             Time

San Francisco         9:05am          Victoria               11:14am

Victoria                  11:52am        San Francisco      1:56pm