The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport took another step Wednesday in its pursuit of securing direct flights to Boise.

The Airport Board gave the airport permission to spend $25,000 to advertise flights to Boise if an airline agrees to offer that service in Pullman. The airport will also waive the landing fees that the airline pays for two years.

Airport Director Tony Bean said these steps will incentivize a carrier like Alaska Airlines to bring these flights to Pullman. He said Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport is competing with other airports to attract these flights and needs to prove that airlines will be successful in Pullman.

“The goal is to have successful service,” he said.

Bean said these steps are necessary whenever an airport wants to enter into a new market. For example, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport was awarded grant money in 2020 to market flights to Denver. It is currently working with United Airlines to bring that service to Pullman.

Marketing is beneficial, he said, because many people do not know about the services the airport provides and some do not even know Pullman has an airport.

During Wednesday’s Airport Board meeting, board member Dan Ewart said University of Idaho President Scott Green recently had an “encouraging” meeting with Alaska Airlines about Boise flights and will meet with the airline again today.

Bean and Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, who is also a board member, said local entities such as the UI will not only benefit from Alaska Airline flights to Boise, but from connecting flights to California and Portland. Bean said Alaska has also recently added a route from Boise to Chicago.

Ewart, who is the UI Vice President of Information Technology, said the university is particularly interested in connecting flights to California for recruiting purposes.

Johnson said these connections to places like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland would also benefit Washington State University and Pullman. He said it is possible travelers may find that flying out of Boise is faster than flying out of Seattle.

Bean said the Airport Board’s approval was a positive step toward seeing planes depart to Idaho’s capital city, which is a goal many people in the region have been working toward for years.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Bean also informed the board that the airport will offer a third flight to Seattle starting May 20 that will depart at about 4:30 p.m.

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