SeaTac’s Alaska Airlines today announced daily service between Bellingham and Honolulu beginning Jan. 7.
The new service announcement is clearly a pre-emptive marketing strike against leisure carrier Allegiant Air. Allegiant has been rumored to begin Hawaii service from Bellingham either late this year or early next year.
The Las Vegas-based airline is reportedly expanding its terminal waiting area in Bellingham in preparation for the new service, which has not yet been announced.
Allegiant is acquiring six Boeing 757 twin jets to expand its range to Hawaii. The airline now flies McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, aircraft that don’t have the range to fly the 2,500 miles to Hawaii from the Mainland.
Allegiant has been successful in linking smaller cities such as Bellingham with resort destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix with less-than-daily flights.
The airline has low fares as it typically “unbundles” its services, charging customers extras for service that is included in the ticket price on some other carriers.
Alaska has already launched jet service from Bellingham to Las Vegas to rival Allegiant.
Bellingham’s airport attracts passengers not only from northwest Washington but also from the nearby Vancouver, B.C. area.