Las Vegas-bound travelers will have an extra option this summer when Sun Country Airlines offers a new weekly route from the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.
The airline, which already operates seasonal service from here to Minneapolis- St. Paul, announced Wednesday it will fly the new route from Aug. 30 through Dec. 2.
The flights will depart the county on Thursdays and return from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Sundays, according to airport manager Jon Stout.
The announcement comes 10 months after Allegiant Airlines ended twice-weekly flights from here to Las Vegas.
About half of those flights had good ridership, Stout said. While Allegiant ended the service, he said, “demand is still strong for Las Vegas.”
Minneapolis-based Sun Country began its Twin Cities service here last August. This season the airline will fly that route from June 29 through Oct. 28.
“We recently added Santa Rosa/Sonoma County to our destination roster, and it has been a very successful market for us,” Sun Country President/CEO Jude Bricker said in a statement. Company officials, he said, look forward to expanding service to the county, “bringing Las Vegas passengers the opportunity to experience the beauty and relaxation that Wine Country offers.”
The Las Vegas route came about after airport and Sun Country officials discussed the difficulty the carrier had experienced in housing flight crews here after last fall’s wildfires, Stout said.
With hotel rooms here in tight supply, the officials considered adding the Las Vegas flight route and having the planes fly on there after landing in the county from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
“They have a lot more flexibility on hotels there than here,” Stout said of Las Vegas. The approach also would allow Sun Country to continue to offer its planes for charter service on off days, including for traveling college football teams with Saturday schedules.
Introductory Las Vegas fares are available for as low as $59 one way, the company said.
The county airport has three other carriers offering daily nonstop service to major West Coast cities and to Phoenix.
Of those carriers, Alaska Airlines plans by late spring to begin offering twice daily nonstop flights to Portland and Seattle. The extra flights will extend until late summer or fall, Stout said.
Also, Alaska on May 20 will introduce an Embraer 175 regional jet for its San Diego service to and from here.
Over the next 18 months the carrier plans to replace all its Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes used here, Stout said. Both aircraft can hold 76 passengers, he said, but the Embraer offers first- and premium-class sections, larger overhead bins and slightly faster travel speeds.
You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 707-521-5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @rdigit.