Cantwell Announces Investment to Establish Nonstop Service from Spokane to Los Angeles Market

Cantwell: ‘This is a major step forward for job growth and commerce in the Inland NW’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced Spokane International Airport is receiving a $950,000 grant to reestablish much-needed nonstop air service to Southern California, which would boost business and leisure travel between the two regions. The grant is awarded under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Program.

Cantwell wrote a letter of support to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in August expressing her strong support for Spokane International Airport’s application.

“This is a major step forward for job growth and commerce in the Inland Northwest,” Cantwell said. “Spokane International Airport is a critical regional hub that drives economic growth throughout the Inland Northwest. Southern California can become the second largest passenger destination from Spokane, making the airport a stop for hundreds of thousands of additional travelers every year. Tapping into this new market will help expand local businesses, facilitate tourism and create jobs in Spokane.”

Mark Richard, Chairman, Spokane Airport Board and member, Spokane County Board of Commissioners stated, “We are delighted with today's announcement of USDOT's approval of Spokane International Airport's Small Communities Grant application in the amount of $950,000 to support new nonstop service to the Los Angeles basin. This is a strategic and integral business and leisure market for our customers from the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Region. Combined, the demand to the five airports that comprise the LA basin is our over 250,000 annual travelers, representing our area's second largest passenger market and the largest destination without nonstop service. We are looking forward to the project's next phase of raising the necessary $200,000 in local matching funds.”

Currently, Spokane air service between Los Angeles and Southern California is completed entirely via connecting flights, yet there is very strong passenger demand for this route. In 2010, nearly 230,000 passengers traveled from Spokane to the Los Angeles basin, making it the second most travelled destination after Seattle and before Portland. Spokane International Airport has had nonstop service to the Los Angeles basin twice before – once in 2004 and more recently in 2008 – but currently the airport does not have a carrier offering this service. The Small Community Air Service Development Grant would enable the airport to recruit a carrier by offering short-term risk-offsets while the market fully establishes itself.