Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Carriers commit to 5 nonstop winter flights

Reach of air service continues to expand


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Resort marketing manager Jack Sibbach, left, County Commissioner Larry Schoen, center, and Friedman Memorial Airport Manager Rick Baird prepare to welcome passengers of the first direct flight from Denver to Hailey earlier this month. Express file photo Photo by Roland Lane

    Commercial air carriers will offer direct flights to the Wood River Valley this winter from five major cities—Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle—the nonprofit Fly Sun Valley Alliance announced this week.
    The flights are scheduled from December through March for the upcoming 2014-15 ski season.
     Fly Sun Valley Alliance, along with Sun Valley Resort and Friedman Memorial Airport, has been working to expand air service into Friedman. The partners this week announced the following air service schedule for flights to Friedman (SUN) this coming winter:
- Alaska Airlines: Daily flights to and from Los Angeles and Seattle from Dec. 18 to March 29 (five flights per week, Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday, from Jan. 12-25).
- United Express: SFO-SUN—Daily from Dec. 18 to March 29 (five flights per week, Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 11.) However, flights will also operate Tuesday, Jan. 20, and Wednesday, Feb. 11.
- United Express: DEN-SUN—Daily from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5; Saturday only from Jan. 10 to Feb. 7; Wednesday and Saturday from Feb. 11 to March 28.
- Delta Air Lines: SLC-SUN—Daily, year-round; three flights daily during peak winter periods, two flights daily during other periods.
     The 2014-2015 winter flight schedule represents a 2 percent increase in overall seat capacity over the previous winter, which had a substantial 28 percent increase over the 2012-13 winter season, Fly Sun Valley officials said.    
    “We worked closely with the airlines and our partners to add the right mix of seat capacity and schedules to match the variable demand periods, with strong capacity during the holidays, February and March, and a bit less in January and April,” said Carol Waller, director of Fly Sun Valley Alliance. “There will also be a significantly expanded marketing program to ensure we have a successful winter season and fill all these flights coming into Sun Valley.”  
    United and Alaska Airlines flights are operated under an air-service contract that is negotiated between Fly Sun Valley Alliance, Sun Valley Resort and the airlines each season.
    United commenced its San Francisco flights last winter and its Denver flights this summer.
    The Visit Sun Valley marketing organization and Sun Valley Resort plan to collectively spend more than $1 million to reach targeted customers in key air-service markets, with the goal of attracting new visitors and more repeat visits by returning visitors and second-home owners, Waller said. Funding for Fly Sun Valley’s air service development and Visit Sun Valley’s marketing program is provided by the Sun Valley Air Service Board, with additional support from Fly Sun Valley local business partner programs, including Realtors for Air and Air Support Business Ski Passes.
    The Sun Valley Air Service Board was formed to manage and disburse revenues from a 1 percent local-option tax in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley that was approved by voters last year.
    A complete flight schedule is available at www.flysunvalleyalliance.com.
Greg Foley: gfoley@mtexpress.com




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