February 7, 2009 in City

Nonstop flights to SF to resume

United says twice daily service to take off in June
By The Spokesman-Review
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Inland Northwest residents will be able to fly nonstop to San Francisco with two daily flights starting in June.

Spokane International Airport and United Airlines officials announced the new service Friday. The flights will be through United Express and SkyWest airlines.

United dropped nonstop flights between Spokane and San Francisco International Airport in early 2001. Other airlines have continued nonstop service to the Bay Area, although not to San Francisco.

The new flights will depart Spokane at 6 a.m. and 3:22 p.m., each arriving in San Francisco in less than two hours. Departures from San Francisco will be at 12:54 p.m. and 10 p.m. with similar flight times. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

Prices for the flights weren’t announced; airport officials would only say they will be “competitive.”

The service will run through United Airlines as United Express flights operated by SkyWest. The route will use 66-seat Canadair 700 and 50-seat Canadair 200 jets.

Airport director Neal Sealock said the expansion comes at a time when airlines around the country are making few moves to add service, and more often are cutting it.

He said the decision by United to expand its Spokane service came as a result of requests from business interests to improve Spokane’s connections with the West Coast and Asia.

San Francisco offers connections throughout the Pacific basin, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; and Osaka, Japan.

Sealock urged customers in Spokane to take advantage of the new offerings so that they become a permanent feature of air service here. “Now that we have it, we have to use it,” he said.

Sterling Savings Bank in Spokane operates branches in the San Francisco area and is looking forward to the nonstop service to improve convenience for trips to visit those operations, officials said.

In addition, high-tech companies are expected to take advantage of the service, as well as visitors for conventions and tourism.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or by e-mail at mikep@spokesman.com

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