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Airline announces weekly Spokane-Hawaii service

Allegiant Air, a discount airline that serves mostly small to midsized cities, will begin weekly nonstop flights from Spokane to Honolulu in February.

The once-per-week nonstop flight will leave on Saturday mornings and return the following Friday evening.

The last time Spokane passengers had nonstops to Hawaii was in 2003, when Anchorage-based Hawaiian Vacations offered charter flights to Maui. That charter service stopped after several months, said Spokane airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

“We think Spokane will embrace the service and the deals we have with great bundles for hotels and rental cars,” said Eric Fletcher, an Allegiant airport manager. He said the hope is to build traffic to two flights per week.

Allegiant’s service is the first scheduled Spokane-Hawaii flights ever and will be the longest direct-flight route offered for Spokane passengers, added Woodard.

Fletcher said the company’s business plan is offering flights in small and mid-sized cities to major leisure and vacation destinations.

Airport Director Larry Krauter said about 50,000 people flew in 2011 from Spokane to Hawaii, “more than demonstrating the strong market opportunity that Allegiant will serve.”

The airline is based in Las Vegas and now serves about 80 cities. It began providing direct flights to Hawaii in July. So far, it has six cities with service to Hawaii.

In addition to Spokane, Boise will also begin offering Allegiant flights to Hawaii in 2013, Fletcher said.

Introductory one-way base fares to Hawaii are priced at $180; those rates last about a week, Fletcher noted.

“A lot of the cities we fly into are in the Dakotas and in Montana and other places,” Fletcher said. “Once we add Spokane, it might be one of our largest cities.”

The airline typically buys used aircraft in order to maintain low operating costs. The Spokane-Honolulu flights will use relatively new B-757s with a 223-passenger capacity, Fletcher said.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.