Idea #10: Attract additional flights at Spokane International Airport

Spokane International Airport serves three million passengers yearly, but a majority of these passengers are routed through hubs like Seattle, Denver, and Las Vegas. (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons)

As a blog focused on solutions, #spokanerising is committed to developing ideas to help develop Spokane into a top-tier urban-designed, thriving, vibrant city of the same class as Portland or Seattle. Whether or not you agree with his politics, this dovetails nicely with Mayor David Condon’s stated goal of transforming our city into one of “choice.”

Yesterday, KXLY reported on their Facebook page that Delta would be adding seasonal flights to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International AirportToday, we suggest that the Spokane Airport Board and the Spokane City Council prioritize adding new domestic nonstop flights at Spokane International Airport.

While the Spokane market is indeed well-served by the combination of Alaska/Horizon shuttle flights to Seattle and the vast array of international and domestic flights available from there, it would behoove local government officials to look for ways to stimulate or subsidize additional nonstop flights to in-demand locations. Having a good number of domestic flights correlates with strong local business activity and economic growth. One can imagine the possibilities. Currently, a large number of barriers prevent companies from locating in Spokane. But new flights could eliminate some of these. For example, add nonstop flights to San Jose (which is closer than Oakland or San Francisco to Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook) and suddenly a world of technology investment becomes more possible. Add additional flights to Houston or Atlanta (the current Delta plan only adds one weekly Saturday flight) and international destinations become more in reach.

Somewhat arbitrarily, we believe that the region’s top priorities for increased air service should include the following:

  1. The conversion of seasonal service to Minneapolis and Chicago to full-time service.
  2. The addition of service to Dallas, Houston, and/or Atlanta.
  3. The addition of service to San Jose.
  4. The exploration of additional service to Los Angeles.
  5. The exploration of service to Canadian cities like Vancouver and Edmonton.
  6. The exploration of service restoration to Reno/Tahoe.

What about you? What’s on your¬†wishlist for destinations? Where should Spokane International Airport be focusing its energy?