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News and notes from City Hall, Bernalillo County and local politics

Alaska Airlines to begin Seattle-Albuquerque service

ALASKA AIR 03-28-14
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Alaska Airlines will begin daily nonstop service between Albuquerque and Seattle in September — welcome news for the Sunport as city leaders brace for expiration of the Wright Amendment.

Mayor Richard Berry said Friday that the expiration of the amendment played a role in Albuquerque’s desire to recruit Alaska Airlines.

The city of Albuquerque, of course, also wanted to improve its connections to the coasts and boost competition that benefits consumers, he said.

The Wright Amendment is expected to expire in October, giving Southwest Airlines the legal right to fly right over New Mexico en route to other destinations.

For decades, Southwest flights out of Dallas Love Field have touched down in Albuquerque on their way to Los Angeles and other places.

There’s “no question,” Berry said, that expiration of the amendment will bring some changes to activity at the Sunport. He said he will meet with Southwest executives soon to talk about it.

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything to incentivize Southwest,” the mayor told reporters Friday. “It’s a collaborative process.”

The addition of Alaska Airlines to the Sunport, he said, “is good news. We think we’re an attractive market.”

The incentives used to lure Alaska Airlines do not include a revenue guarantee. Instead, they focus on landing and other fees, Berry said, similar to what’s offered to other companies.

“We’re trying to keep a level playing field here,” he said.

Alaska Airlines is offering introductory fares starting at $99 each way to celebrate its planned launch of nonstop daily service between Albuquerque and the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. Flights will begin Sept. 18.

To get the $99 fare, tickets must be purchased by Thursday, April 3, with travel completed by Nov. 19.

The daily flights are scheduled from Seattle to Albuquerque, 10:55 a.m. departure and 2:50 p.m. arrival, followed by Albuquerque to Seattle, 3:45 p.m. departure and 5:45 p.m. arrival. The flight times are based on local time zones.

A subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, Alaska Airlines and its regional airline partners serve nearly 100 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It has more nonstop flights to Seattle than any other airline.

Southwest Airlines also offers nonstop and stopover flights between Albuquerque and Seattle.

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