United to offer daily direct service from Wichita to LAX

12/20/2012 7:20 AM

12/20/2012 7:24 AM

United Express plans to start daily nonstop service between Wichita and Los Angeles International Airport on May 2, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport officials said.

The airline will operate two daily departures and arrivals between the two cities. Los Angeles is Wichita’s fourth top passenger market.

The service will be operated by its regional partner, SkyWest Airlines, which will operate the flights using 66-seat Canadair CRJ-700 regional jets.

The flights are in addition to United’s daily service from Wichita to Chicago, Denver and Houston.

One-way ticket prices posted on United Airlines’ website Wednesday were advertised for $140 for travel in May.

“It means nonstop service to a market where there is high demand,” said Valerie Wise, the Wichita Airport Authority’s air service and business development manager.

Los Angeles is a connecting hub to the west, to Mexico and to Asia, Wise said. It will serve the L.A. basin area, including Burbank, Long Beach, Ontario, Orange County and southern California.

“That’s a big market,” Wise said. “There’s significant demand into that combined area.”

The nonstop service will be important to business and leisure travelers, she said.

“It’s important to economic development efforts – having access to this region is really important,” Wise said.

The flights are also important to Wichita after Frontier Airlines discontinued service to Denver and Allegiant halted direct flights to Los Angeles in August because of gate constrictions it faced there.

“United looks forward to serving the growing business market between Wichita and southern California,” Martin Kammerman, United’s senior manager of market analysis, said in a statement.

“This new market will increase travel options for Wichita passengers beyond our existing service to Chicago, Denver and Houston.”

The service in Wichita is part of United’s launch of nonstop service on several international and domestic routes beginning in the spring.

United is adding flights to Latin America from Chicago and Washington, D.C., flights to Canada from Denver, New York and Washington, D.C., and additional routes from Chicago, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, including the Wichita service.

“The addition of these new routes further improves United’s already industry-leading network,” Grant Whitney, United’s managing director of scheduling, said in a statement.

“By launching new destinations and additional flights to currently-served points, we provide more convenience and options for travelers.”

Competition among airports for service is keen.

“There’s a lot of airports all around the country wanting those airplanes,” Wise said. “So we’re very grateful, very fortunate.”

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