Airport

Travelers wait in the lobby of the Yellowstone Bozeman International Airport on July 2.

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Starting in November, Alaska Airlines will join United Airlines in offering year-round, daily nonstop flights between Bozeman and Los Angeles.

Brian Sprenger, Bozeman Yellowstone International airport director, said the airlines will start offering the trips on Nov. 20, with fares as low as $89 each way. The expansion, he said, shows the competitiveness and interest in expanding service into Bozeman.

“We’re excited that we’re part of their expansion,” Sprenger said.

He said the trips are likely to generate about 10,000 people coming to the area each year, but could reach up to 13,000 per year.

For now, the airlines plans to have one flight inbound and one flight outbound each day. He said that could change if the airline sees an uptick in customers booking those flights.

“It’s by virtue of demand,” Sprenger said.

Over the peak holiday season, he said, the airline’s nonstop flights to Los Angeles could increase to up to six flights per day. But that’s over the Christmas holiday when demand typically increases, Sprenger said.

Alaska joins United Airlines in offering the year-round service to Southern California. Other airlines provide nonstop flights to Los Angeles, but Sprenger said that typically only happens during peak seasons.

The airline’s move is part of an expansion of western states to “connect its guests between South California and key markets around the country,” according to an Alaska Airlines news release.

Oregon, Hawaii and Florida were also on the list of new locations that will offer services to Los Angeles.

“LAX is one of Alaska’s important hub markets and continues to offer valuable opportunities for selective expansion,” said Brett Catlin, of Alaska Airlines.

The announcement comes as the airport is nearing completion of additional gates. Sprenger said construction would likely be done sometime this fall.

However, he said, the airport continues to see less traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s important to note that through the summer period, we’re still going to be at half of the passengers than we handled last year,” Sprenger said.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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