BULLHEAD CITY – American Airlines will begin daily nonstop service between Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in February.
“We have been waiting for this news for a really long time and we are beyond excited for this opportunity,” said Jeremy Keating, airport director at Laughlin/Bullhead, of the Feb. 16 launch date.
“This is some of the biggest news Mohave County has seen in a long time,” said Keating. He said he hopes residents of Kingman, Needles, Lake Havasu City and all over Mohave County will utilize the new offering.
American Airlines’ flights are expected to be operated by Skywest with CRJ-700 aircraft, which carry about 70 passengers.
A flight from Laughlin/Bullhead (IFP) to Phoenix Sky Harbor will open up more than 50 flights to various destinations, said Keating. Add another connection and there are more than 300 flights.
The airport currently handles 220,000 passengers annually, said Keating. With the new routes, it has the potential to add 51,000 to that total.
John Hastings, president of the Mohave County Airport Authority, said the arrival of American Airlines marks a new era of economic growth and enhanced quality of life for the region.
“Our most recent economic impact study indicates this new air service will generate a regional economic impact of over $13 million annually,” said Hastings. “In addition to a new era of economic growth, we are also marking the end of an era. One can no longer say, ‘You can’t get here from there.’ Instead, we can now safely say, ‘Our region is open to the world.’”
Efforts to attract scheduled air service ramped up in 2008 when the airport was first awarded a Small Community Air Service Development grant from the U.S Department of Transportation. Efforts continued to gain momentum in 2010 when Sixel Consulting Group was hired by the airport to help organize air service development strategies.
“Sixel has just been amazing,” said Keating. “They stuck with us.”
This summer, the airport authority was awarded another SCASD grant which provided $750,000 towards the recruitment of an airline to bring scheduled air service to the community.
The required $750,000 match was guaranteed through the partnership between Bullhead City and private entities including the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Laughlin Tourism Commission, the Laughlin Casino Resort Hotels, as well as dozens of local businesses and individual community members.
An additional $600,000 of in-kind support was pledged for marketing and advertising.
Each year, more than 3 million people come from around the country to stay at the region’s resorts, play in Laughlin’s casinos, enjoy the Colorado River, and hike through the mountains of the Mohave Desert.
Now, the airport will be able to connect those visitors and local residents to the international air travel network more efficiently.
“It’s going to be really good for Mohave County,” said Keating.
More like this story
- Commercial air service at Laughlin/Bullhead airport seeks 75 percent ridership
- American Airlines to offer flights from Bullhead to Phoenix
- Laughlin-Bullhead City airport awarded $8.3 million grant
- Elite Airways announces Bullhead City-to-Phoenix flights
- American Airlines calls it quits in Mohave County