Allegiant announces plan to expand airline service in Bellingham

Low-cost carrier adds two weekly flights to Denver, one of United’s destinations from Paine Field.

BELLINGHAM — Allegiant plans to offer a new flight to Denver from Bellingham, the airline announced today. The twice-weekly, seasonal service from Bellingham International Airport to Denver International Airport will begin on May 18.

“Nonstop flights to Denver is something our community and region has wanted for some time, and we are thrilled that Allegiant will be offering this service,” Port of Bellingham Executive Director Rob Fix said, in a press release. “We believe this will be a successful route that will benefit travelers in both cities.”

Allegiant spokesperson Jordan Lyle said market research showed the route could be a successful one. Frontier Airlines used to offer a flight to Denver before it pulled out of the Bellingham airport because of a change in its business model.

“We knew that this was in high demand,” Lyle said. She said the seasonal flight will be offered from May until Aug. 13, and connect travelers from Bellingham and Canada to the summer outdoor recreation and vacation opportunities.

Allegiant already flies nonstops routes from Bellingham to San Diego; Oakland, California; Los Angeles; Palm Springs, California; Las Vegas; and Phoenix.

Allegiant is a Las Vegas-based low-cost airline. One-way fares to the new Denver destination will begin at $59.

After Allegiant first started servicing Bellingham in 2004, it quickly became the largest driver of traffic for the airport. Airport traffic grew from 100,000 passengers a year in 2004 to 1.2 million in 2013.

The Port made $71 million worth of improvements to the airport, including building a new terminal in 2013. But then many airlines began changing their business practices and pulled out or cut routes from Bellingham. The number of departing passengers went from 600,000 in 2013 to 400,000 in 2016. Currently, only Allegiant and Alaska Airlines serve the airport.

Airport officials say demand in the area remains high, however, and have recently added extra incentives to entice new airlines to the airport.

Allegiant’s new route is just the latest in a flurry of new options coming for area air travelers.

The new terminal at Paine Field in Everett is set to open for passenger flights this fall. Last summer, United Airlines released plans to offer flights from Everett to Denver, as well as San Francisco.

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