IDAHO FALLS — Travelers going to and from Idaho Falls will soon be able to fly non-stop to Seattle.
Alaska Airlines will launch daily flights from the Idaho Falls Regional Airport to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on June 17. The Wednesday announcement adds 60 one-stop connections for travelers worldwide to the second busiest airport in Idaho.
“This is a great opportunity, great win, that’s been asked for by the citizens and the region for many years,” IDA Airport Director Rick Cloutier said. “This is a great opportunity to really expand our service and bring more visitors to the region.”
When the flights start, Alaska plans to depart around 8 a.m. with a return flight later in the evening. Cloutier said once arriving in Seattle; travelers will have dozens of connecting flights across the west and world with relatively short layovers.
“We’re excited to connect the vibrant, fast-growing Idaho Falls community with Seattle and beyond,” Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Network and Alliances, Brett Catlin, said in a statement. “With the only year-round nonstop flight to the West Coast, guests will benefit from shorter journeys, low fares and great service.”
The addition of Alaska is not the only new airline to come to Idaho Falls this summer. Last month American Airlines announced regional airline service to the airport starting June 3.
“After our announcement today, all of our ticket counters will be filled airlines,” Cloutier said. “Idaho Falls airport will be serviced by five different airlines with 12 non-stop destinations which will allow connections to hundreds of cities through the United States and international.”
The addition of the two airlines comes as the city-owned regional airport completes a $12 million expansion project. When finished this summer, the airport will add 38,000 square feet to the terminal and two new gates.
“These millions of dollars of expansion projects certainly bring money to the local economy,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said. “But they don’t cost local taxpayers a dime.”
The services, flights and other income made from the airport make up roughly 7% of the expansion funds, while the remaining coming from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Improvement Program.
“You have to have the right person leading the process and we’re so fortunate to have Rick Cloutier in that seat on the bus,” Council President Michelle Ziel-Dingman said. “He has the right air service development experience to really help us grow the airport and bring the right airlines here.”
The expansion of airlines and flights involves looking where passengers came from before they arrived at Idaho Falls, and where they are going afterward. Airlines expect to make money, and by having around 350,000 yearly passengers going around the world and a growing economy, more airlines come.
People can start booking the Idaho Falls flights on Alaska Airlines’ website Wednesday. The airline will operate the flights on 76-seater Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft.
“It’s just a fantastic aircraft for this service,” Cloutier said. “A little over an hour flight time to Seattle.”