July 29, 2011 in City, Idaho

Horizon arrives to fill Southwest departure

 
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Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air announced today it is going to fill the void left by Southwest Airlines in the decision by Southwest earlier this week to terminate direct service between Spokane and Seattle.

Alaska officials said they are adding two roundtrips, or four one-way segments, between Spokane and Seattle after Southwest Airlines stops its four flights between the cities on Jan. 8.

The flights will be on Alaska’s companion airline, Horizon Air, which uses the 76-seat Bombardier Q400.

In addition, Alaska is adding four flights between Boise and Seattle after Southwest decided to discontinue flights on that route.

The new Horizon flights will depart Spokane for Seattle at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The arrivals will land in Spokane at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

“We wanted to fill the gap,” said Marianne Lindsey, spokeswoman for Alaska and Horizon. “We knew in those communities the services were important.”

The decision was made this week to help passengers plan ahead, she said.

Southwest this week said it is cutting service on routes that were unproductive, including flights serving Spokane and Boise. The cuts take effect on Jan. 8.

The Southwest flights to and from Seattle had too many empty seats, officials said.

Nationwide, Southwest is reducing its schedule by 102 flights. Some of those flights will be restored after the winter months, the airline said.

By making the changes, Southwest is trying to match service to customer demand.

Southwest will continue Spokane flights to and from Boise, Portland, Oakland, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Those cities are jump-off points into other Southwest destinations across the country.

Alaska Air/Horizon Airlines already provides 16 daily roundtrips between Spokane and Seattle.

Larry Krauter, director of the Spokane airport, said in an Alaska press release that the new Alaska flights are going to fill a need for business travel.

Krauter said he was pleased with Alaska’s immediate response to the loss of the Southwest flights.


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