Alaska Airlines launches Bellingham flights

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Alaska Airlines has launched a new daily flight to Honolulu from Bellingham, Wash., the closest U.S. commercial airport to Vancouver, B.C.

The objective is to capture Canadian visitors to Hawaii who, to avoid Canadian flying taxes, have been driving to Seattle, putting their cars in long-term parking, and flying to Hawaii from SeaTac, sources within the airline said.

The first westbound flight of the service took off at 5:20 p.m. Friday, to arrive at Honolulu airport at 9:40 p.m., with an eastbound return leaving at 10:30 p.m. for arrival at Bellingham at 6:10 a.m. Saturday.

Alaska already flies from Bellingham to Las Vegas and this service, the sources said, are mostly filled with Canadians. Its Hawaii service appears to pre-empt plans by Allegiant Airlines to serve the same corridor, which came to light when Allegiant began shopping for the necessary aircraft.

More than 1 million people live in the three Washington counties closest to the Canadian border, but 2 million live in the Vancouver metropolitan area, half of the entire population of British Columbia in an area that sits on the U.S. border.

Alaska Airlines, which is based in Seattle and is approximately twice the size of Hawaiian Airlines, has shifted more than 15% of all of its capacity to Hawaii routes in the past two years. Later this year it launches several more Hawaii routes, mostly from California cities to Maui and Kona.

Alaska announced a $149 one-way introductory fare available through June 9.

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