On the heels of JetBlue’s announcement that they will be abandoning their Long Beach hub in favor of Los Angeles International Airport, Alaska has announced a substantial expansion at LAX as well. The West Coast carrier will be adding 8 new routes at their hub (for a total of 12 this year), including additional service to cities in Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, and Florida. This is an interesting move, in my opinion, as we are still in the middle of the coronavirus crisis and air travel is still far from being fully rebounded.
Alaska Airlines Adds 12 Nonstop Routes at LAX in 2020
The eight new routes being added out of Los Angeles International Airport are the following:
- Fresno, California – 2x daily E175 service – Commences September 1 (previously announced)
- Eugene, Oregon – Daily E175 service – Commences October 1
- Medford, Oregon – Daily E175 service – Commences October 1
- Bozeman, Montana – Daily E175 service – Commences November 20
- Fort Myers, Florida – 4x weekly 737 service – Commences November 20
- Tampa, Florida – Daily 737 service – Commences November 20
- Kona, Hawaii – 3x weekly 737 service – Commences December 17
- Lihue, Hawaii – 4x weekly 737 service – Commences December 18
Four other routes have already been added this year:
- Redmond, Oregon – Daily E175 service
- Spokane, Washington – 2x daily E175 service
- Boise, Idaho – 2x daily E175 service
- Missoula, Montana – Daily E175 service
As Alaska serves these smaller West Coast destinations from their other hubs, most of the E175 nonstops aren’t too surprising. The Florida destinations are unexpected, especially given the current state of air travel. Alaska has served a couple destinations in Florida over the years from a couple of their West Coast hubs, but their service has always been weak compared to the competition. Hopefully there is enough demand for them between the western Florida cities and LAX for them to maintain these routes.
In addition to the LAX expansion, Alaska is also adding Portland – Fort Lauderdale, Seattle – Fort Myers, and San Diego – Fort Lauderdale service starting in late November this year.
Along with Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines is one of my favorite U.S. carriers. I’ve flown them a number of times, even managing to match to their top-tier MVP Gold 75K status this year. I’m not too surprised they are making moves to expand at LAX, but I hope they are able to hang onto these routes in the current business climate. With air travel unlikely to rebound fully for at least another year, planning new routes seems like a risky move. At the same time, scaled back operations by other carriers may make this the perfect time to strategically expand.
H/T: The Points Guy