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Whatcom residents will have a new way to fly to Alaska starting in May

An Allegiant Air flight flies into the Bellingham International Airport, March 30, 2013. The airline announced Tuesday that it will begin twice weekly flights between Bellingham and Anchorage in May.
An Allegiant Air flight flies into the Bellingham International Airport, March 30, 2013. The airline announced Tuesday that it will begin twice weekly flights between Bellingham and Anchorage in May. The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County residents will soon have a convenient option to get to Alaska — through the Bellingham International Airport.

Allegiant will begin offering twice-weekly seasonal service between Bellingham and Anchorage on May 22. Allegiant made the announcement Tuesday, offering fares on the new route as low as $59 each way.

Allegiant will use one of its Bellingham-based Airbus A319 planes for the flights to Alaska, said Sunil Harman, the Port of Bellingham’s director of aviation, in an interview. He added that the seasonal flights will last through Labor Day weekend.

The Allegiantair.com website is currently accepting reservations through Aug. 13. The flights will take place on Wednesdays and Fridays, according to the website.

“The port is elated to have this route,” said Harman, who added they’ve been working for three years to convince an airline to try this flight in Bellingham.

The new route is expected to attract the interest of Whatcom County residents, with many traveling to the state in the summer for work. That includes commercial fishing and construction.

“This is also a great opportunity to grow the adventure tourism and outdoor recreation industry within the region,” said Rob Fix, Port of Bellingham executive director, in a news release.

Harman said the seasonal flights fit well not just for people traveling to Anchorage, but for Alaskans who want to pay a visit to this area.

“For destination travelers, this is a perfect time to visit Bellingham,” Harman said.

Allegiant sees a strong demand for summer service to Alaska, said Kim Schaefer, director of public relations for Allegiant.

“The Bellingham and Greater Vancouver area have been very supportive of our service throughout our time in Bellingham, and we see only a positive outlook for future growth in the market,” Schaefer said.

If the flights between Bellingham and Anchorage are popular, it could provide a boost to the airport’s passenger traffic. Last year 372,747 people flew out of the Bellingham airport, about 1,000 fewer than in 2017. That continues a steady decline in passenger traffic. During its peak year in 2013, nearly 600,000 people flew out of the Bellingham airport.

Harman said they are continuing to reach out to other airlines to try and add flights to the Bellingham airport, particularly heading east. Last summer Allegiant offered flights to Denver; so far Allegiant hasn’t announced whether the airline is bringing that back.

Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.

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