BULLHEAD – Six months after American Airlines began nonstop flights from Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, ridership has steadily increased, but as with anything new, more can be done.
“We are plugging along,” Jeremy Keating, airport director, said. “The flight comes in every day, turns and goes back out with being in the 90 percent range of being on time, which is better than the industry average.”
When the flights kicked off in February, the average cost of flying to the Arizona hub was $105 one way, a cost that remained consistent.
Laughlin/Bullhead International also is a favorite of travelers, Keating said, because the airport offers free parking.
“We have passengers who absolutely love not having to drive to Las Vegas anymore for a lot of reasons,” Keating added.
To make the service successful, Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport officials are relying on tourists who fly into visit one of the nine area casinos.
“The casinos have probably pushed our service out to 20 million of their customers and they continue to send out emails and mailers,” Keating said. “They are really pushing it hard and we’ve seen the casino and resort shuttles come in every day to pick people up.”
Admitting that the ridership is not where they want it to be, Keating is optimistic that once the stifling heat of summer relents, reservations will increase. To be successful, he said, flights must be at least 75-80 percent full.
“We really want to get the message out that we want more people flying in and out of Bullhead/Laughlin International, or at least look at it,” Keating said. “There is a misnomer that it’s expensive, and it isn’t. It’s either less expensive or comparable to flying out of Las Vegas without the headache of traffic or the parking costs.”