Southwest Airlines adds direct flights from Reno-Tahoe to Oakland | SierraSun.com

Southwest Airlines adds direct flights from Reno-Tahoe to Oakland

Sally Roberts
sroberts@nnbw.biz

RENO, Nev. — Reno and Oakland officials celebrated the return of direct flights between the cities with announcements on Dec. 8, first at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the morning followed by a quick hop to Oakland International Airport for a noon presentation.

Beginning June 5, Southwest will service three flights daily from Reno to Oakland International Airport, Marily Mora, president and CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, announced in the main lobby of the airport.

"Southwest truly is an airline that deserves to be celebrated," she said.

Flights booked through Dec. 14 will have an introductory price of only $49 each way.

The announcement accompanied a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Southwest's service to the Reno airport.

During those 25 years, the airline has been "building bridges" between Northern Nevada and other parts of the west, said Dave Harvey, senior director of strategic planning for Southwest.

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"Our futures are bright between Southwest and Reno," he said. "There's more to come."

Reno/Sparks/Tahoe business and government representatives have been working to expand the number of direct flights from Reno. One of the top goals was the return of the Reno-Oakland connection, which Southwest discontinued in June of 2013.

While local officials lobbied for the connection, they had help at the other end, too.

"Every time I'm in Oakland or Reno I'd hear over and over again, 'please bring back Reno-Oakland service,'" Harley said.

The flights will link Reno to the entire Bay Area. The two areas are becoming increasingly interconnected as Bay Area businesses relocate or open additional offices in Reno.

Increasing flights out of Reno comes with an obligation for the community to fill those flights.

Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said the community was ready to support the connection.

"On behalf of the ski industry, we're doing all we can to fill flights," he said, adding that Southwest continually showed its commitment to the community with numerous donations to nonprofits as well as being a business partner.

Mora cited a study through UNR that showed Southwest flights directly and indirectly add $1 billion to the economy of the region each year.