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Airport of the Day (7 November): Bellingham in Washington state welcomes Southwest Airlines

BLI first flight

Bellingham International Airport (IATA code BLI) lies in the northern part of the state of Washington, just 40 kilometres from the Canadian border and 90 kilometres from downtown Vancouver. Between 2005 and 2013 the airport grew rapidly thanks mainly to Alaska Airlines and Allegiant. Alaska mostly focussed on increasing service to its major hub in Seattle-Tacoma, but by 2013 was also serving Las Vegas, Portland and two destinations in Hawaii. Post-pandemic its only remaining service is to Seattle-Tacoma.

Allegiant was initially only serving Las Vegas, until 2007 when new routes to Palm Springs, Phoenix AZA and Reno were added. By 2013 it was serving nine destinations, having added Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego, as well as Honolulu and Kahului in Hawaii. In 2021 it has offered service to six destinations; Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Phoenix AZA and San Diego, with almost half of its flights dedicated to the Las Vegas route.

Delta served Bellingham from Salt Lake City between 2006 and 2008, while Frontier offered flights to Denver between 2012 and 2014. Now, in a major coup for the airport, it has attracted its first ever flights from Southwest. The 50-year-old carrier launched its first flight at the airport on 7 November. The LCC is offering a daily service to Las Vegas and 2-daily service to Oakland. Both routes are already served by Allegiant. Southwest has indicated that if these routes are a success, Denver would be considered as its next possible route.

Finally, San Juan Airlines is a locally-based airline that offers scheduled and charter flights to the San Juan Islands, an archipelago that lies between the state of Washington and Vancouver Island. The carrier uses small Cessnas to operate these services.

Bellingham traffic 2015 - 2020