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Alaska Airlines returns to the Tucson market


Citizen Assistant Business Editor

Alaska Airlines announced yesterday that it is returning to Tucson and will offer non-stop flights to Seattle and San Jose.

The news was greeted enthusiastically by Mayor Bob Walkup, who said the new flights would improve Tucson’s economic development prospects by linking the city to Silicon Valley and leading Seattle-area-based companies such as Boeing and Microsoft.

“This is almost from out of heaven,” said Walkup. “If I could have picked the two places in the country where I wished we had direct flights to, it would have been San Jose and Seattle.”

Alaska Airlines will offer two daily non-stop flights between Seattle and Tucson, plus a third daily flight to San Jose. The new service marks the only non-stop service to Tucson from the San Francisco Bay area.

The new flights are slated to begin Oct. 1.

Walter Burg, president and chief executive of the Tucson Airport Authority, also predicted the direct flights to Seattle and San Jose will be a boon for Tucson’s economic development efforts.

“This gives Tucson access to important markets that can help us grow economically,” he said.

Walkup added, “We have an expanding software community in Tucson, but the mother is in San Jose. This encourages San Jose technology and opportunities to flow in our direction.”

Walkup said direct air transportation to Seattle links Tucson to a city known as a world leader in aerospace and computer applications. Alaska Airlines previously served Tucson from 1985 until 1993, when it flew from Seattle to Tucson with stops in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

“Tucson’s continuing growth as a business, convention and leisure destination makes the city a natural extension of our West Coast route system and complements our successful existing service to Arizona,” said Gregg Saretsky, vice president of marketing and planning for Alaska Airlines.

The carrier’s return to the Tucson market means there are now 11 airlines serving Tucson International Airport. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines serves more than 40 cities in Alaska, Canada, Mexico and five western states.

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