Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly on Monday announced plans for the air carrier to expand passenger service to three airports this year, including Bellingham International Airport.
“I’m pleased to share with you all that today we’re announcing our intention to serve three more destinations and continue our focus on putting our aircraft to work to pursue more customers and much-needed revenue,” Kelly wrote in a letter to Southwest employees. “And the destinations are (drum roll!) Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Eugene, Oregon; and Bellingham, Washington — three very different and appealing locations to both serve our existing customers and places where we feel Southwest can make a real difference for local travelers.”
Kelly went on to say Southwest is hoping to extend service to Bellingham and Eugene by the second half of the year, while the carrier wants to add Myrtle Beach in time for summer vacations.
“Southwest service in Bellingham positions us just south of metro Vancouver, British Colombia,” Kelly wrote. “Following the reopening of the Canadian border, we expect a return of the value-minded travelers who already drive to this alternative airport to escape high fares and taxes—and that’s very, very typical for Southwest destinations. Southwest provides a great value for them.”
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is in its 50th year of service, and it currently has destinations throughout the U.S. and Hawaii, though it has a heavier presence in southern states. It also has several Caribbean and Mexican routes.
The news of the expansion came as the carrier is set to begin service to Colorado Springs and Savannah/Hilton Head, South Carolina, this week. In all, Southwest reports it has either opened service or announced plans to open service in 17 airports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s a lot of work, a lot of new destinations, and a lot of options for our customers and so I want to thank all of the teams that have a hand in continuing to grow the heart of Southwest while better positioning us to capture more customers as the travel demand rebounds,” Kelly wrote.
Bellingham International is currently serviced by Alaska/Horizon Airlines (since 1987) and Allegiant Airlines (since 2004). San Juan Airlines also flies out of Bellingham.
Previously, the airport has hosted Delta Airlines (2006-08), United Express (1989-2001), Pacific Southwest Airlines/U.S. Air (1985-91), Western Airlines (2007) and Skybus Airlines (2007).
Read full feature article here: Major air carrier announces plans to come to Bellingham International Airport in 2021